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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Jars, New Products, And Raw Desserts

Posted on March 27, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I hope you’re all liking the wellness giveaway! You have until March 31st to enter.

Tazo Rest

Tazo Rest

One Lucky Duck Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies

One Lucky Duck Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was not terribly hungry for dessert last night while watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Did the chicken scene just make anyone else want to give up on meat? I couldn’t go that far, probably, but it makes me feel good that the meat I choose is wild, natural, or organic and minimally processed.

I must have been affected by a British accent because I snacked on “tea and cookies”, with Tazo Rest and One Lucky Duck‘s chocolate chip raw cookies. This was the last sample from One Lucky Duck I had and it did not disappoint. I liked how–very easily–there was a flavor distinction between the cookie and the chocolate, which isn’t easy to do at all with raw foods. It also didn’t have that raw, fall-apart-in-your-hand texture but wasn’t stale. They’re a bit pricey but a good treat for a raw foodist.

Almost Empty Nut Butter Jars

Almost Empty Nut Butter Jars

I couldn’t help but noticing not one but 2 of my nut butter jars were on their last leg. And since I had just had a chocolate chip cookie made mostly out of cashews, this couldn’t have been a more perfect pairing 🙂

Oats With Cookie Dough Peanut Butter And Raw Cashew Butter

Oats With Cookie Dough Peanut Butter And Raw Cashew Butter

On top was the very last of P.B.Loco’s cookie dough peanut butter and Love Raw Food’s cashew butter. There was definitely more nut butter than oats so this was delicious and rich. And I love just being able to toss the jar out when you’re done 🙂 Is it just me, or is it still impossible to get the jar satisfactory empty no matter how much you work at it?

Chia Moon Drop

Chia Moon Drop

I woke up at 5, and took an awful long time getting back to bed(hence not waking up again until 9, yikes!) :-/ Sometime then, I got snackish and went for Uli Mana‘s chocolate chia moon drop. It was a good choice. I think I got through half of it before even realizing where the chia were; that was a good thing since they still sort of freak me out. It was nice and chocolaty, too. I wish it were richer(maybe add some cacao butter?), but it was still pretty great.

Honest Foods Pomegranate Walnut Crisp Granola Plank

Honest Foods Pomegranate Walnut Crisp Granola Plank

I woke up at 8, put on my glasses, and then woke up again at 9. Oops. Don’t you hate when that happens? After deciding what was for breakfast, I grabbed a new Honest Foods granola plank to try out.

Pineapple Chobani With Pomegranate Walnut Granola, Pumpkin Oats With Walnut Butter In A Mighty Maple Jar

Pineapple Chobani With Pomegranate Walnut Granola, Pumpkin Oats With Walnut Butter In A Mighty Maple Jar

Pineapple Chobani With Pomegranate Walnut Granola, Pumpkin Oats With Walnut Butter In A Mighty Maple Jar

Pineapple Chobani With Pomegranate Walnut Granola, Pumpkin Oats With Walnut Butter In A Mighty Maple Jar

Another almost empty nut butter jar? I spoil myself 🙂 In the Mighty Maple jar went pumpkin oatmeal and a scoop of walnut butter; the pumpkin, peanut, walnut, and maple all work so well together! And I had a pineapple Chobani with about 1/3 of the Honest Foods granola plank. I like the ideas of the grab-n-go granola, but the pomegranate flavor in the pomegranate walnut crisp was just not there. It also wasn’t very crisp? It was much more chewy and soft. All the walnuts and peanuts made me happy, though, so clearly I wasn’t complaining much.

I’m sure you’ve noticed Cancun 2010 is no where in my Spring Break plans, haha. In case you were wondering, today I’m heading home to see my dog for the first time in 4 weeks. It’s felt like forever! Tomorrow, I have my 1/2 marathon to run along the New Hampshire coast–not looking forward to the weather. And then Monday is the day I become one really old teenager. We won’t celebrate until Easter with the relatives, though(OK, there’ll be a little celebrating ;-)).

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Let’s Jam

Posted on February 27, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Well, sparing the drama, last night did not start off well; in short, I realized that all the Latin I had been translating through the day I was meant to read in English and the next two chapters in Latin. Gah! After that, I probably had more motivation than any other time to do what really needed to be done. But I couldn’t muster it up. Instead, I turned to food:

Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Yogurt With Banana Pineapple Rum Jam

That’s what Friday nights are for, right? I wanted something pina-colada like since that’s what my overripe coconut milk had reminded me of all day(I’ve since thrown it out–no worries there). I took a couple scoops vanilla ice cream from Purely Decadent made with coconut milk and added banana pineapple rum jam. This was sooo good; it reminded me of adding pineapples on top of your sundae, which I never got, but it worked with the coconut. I must admit that I have no recollection of the Olympics from 9-10 and I think it was because I was too enthralled in this. Like I said, not much work got done, which would have been helpful going in to this week with 2 papers 😦 Now, where was I? Oh yes, food therapy.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter

Avery posed the question to enter her contest, “what’s your favorite peanut butter?” I’ll tell you, this is a really hard one for me, and it’s very mood dependent. But one that I can’t deny being in the top 3 is Naturally Nutty‘s Butter Toffee peanut butter. I don’t even think I’ve had butter toffee peanuts, but this just takes the cake oatmeal. If I win,her contest, you can take a wild guess which one I’d choose 😉

7 Miles in 61:54

Saturday mornings always feel “funny”, mostly because the gym opens at 9 so I have to sleep in until 8:30 if I want to time things like I do. Yes, “have” to because that takes effort for me! My grandfather always wakes up at 6am even though he’s retired; let’s blame him. I got their on time and ran 7 miles in 61:54, which felt easy if only because I wouldn’t let myself look at the distance for the first hour.

Berry Bot

Getting in the door I suddenly felt like I hadn’t eaten for 12 hours. Then I realized I hadn’t. Bot to the rescue! I wanted some quick electrolytes so I tried the berry flavor. No disappointment here; it was very berry! And it tasted just sweet enough with only 6g of sugar, which I can’t deny I needed at the time. After showering, cooking breakfast, and making a phone call, finally I was ready to dig in.

Oatmeal With COconut Milk, Walnut Butter, Cinnamon, And Sea Salt, Chobani With Blueberry Jam

Oatmeal With Walnut Butter, Coconut Milk, Cinnamon, And Sea Salt

I must have been hungry because it was one of those times when I wanted to use every topping in site; just like when a celebrity takes on every bit of plastic surgery, I know that doesn’t always work out, so I told myself to keep it simple. I don’t think I listened well :-\ But in the end, this combo of walnut butter with coconut milk wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t spectacular or anything, but it’s making do as I chow down. I’m glad I stuck just to blueberry jam on the yogurt, since that turned out to be fantastic. When does jam ever disappoint? And I’ll let you in on a secret: It’s just 365 brand 😉 I can speak for their blueberry and raspberry ones that they’re as good as any! And speaking of Whole Foods, I could definitely use a nice long walk while the sun’s still out with groceries at the end of the tunnel right now to clear my head.

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My, Oh, Brownie

Posted on February 10, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Some things words cannot describe.

The Wow Baking Company Chocolate Brownie

Like really big brownies. I was planning on saving this one from The Wow Baking Company for Cookie Friday, but I just couldn’t wait. Is it ironic that I was also watching The Biggest Loser at the time? I didn’t feel too bad because it was all about Olympic athletes and fueling! And I love chocolate fuel.

The Wow Baking Company Chocolate Brownie

Like the name says, “wow”. I popped this brownie in the microwave to get warm and melty. The texture was superb! So fudgy 🙂 I thought the sweetness was a bit “off”. It was definitely sweet(how could it not be with so much sugar?) but needed something to balance that sweetness. I really couldn’t complain…

Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownie

Check out that fudge factor! And, of course, being from Wow, it was gluten free. I fel like that’s not so much a problem with brownies, though, since the first ingredients are always chocolate, eggs, sugar, and butter. For homemade gluten free brownies, check out my recipe here.

Oatmeal With Smart Balance Peanut Butter

I thought all those generally empty calories would have left me starving, but I was actually more or less in a sugar coma and just wanted to get to bed early for my long run. Still, I figured I might want a little more so I wouldn’t be starving when I got up and made a bowl of oatmeal. There was a good blob of peanut butter but sticking it back in the microwave “enrobed” it with oats; doesn’t that sound tempting? 🙂

Running Stats

The oatmeal must have worked because this morning I woke up refreshed and ready to tackle my “long run” of the week. I wasn’t sure how it’d be after yesterday’s unplanned 8-miler. Well, for one, it certainly felt like a long run–difficult and painfully long at times. That being said, I enjoyed it and finished 9 miles in 80:53. And in that time I was able to catch to much of The Today Show on the Olympics! I can’t wait for them to really start! Breakfast was very “themed” 🙂

Tierra Farm's Organic Crystallized Ginger

I found this product from Tierra Farm I had yet to even open. I think yesterday’s Kombucha turned me on to a ginger kick!

Breakfast

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Walnut Butter And Crystallized Ginger

Vanilla Chobani With 2 Goji Ginger Walnut Cookies

Like I said, very themed. I topped the vanilla Chobani with 2 of the ginger walnut cookies from Goji Gourmet; gotta get my superfood in after a good run! Since I liked the idea of the ginger and walnut so much, I topped my pumpkin oats with Artisana brand walnut butter and the organic crystallized ginger. The ginger wasn’t quite as strong as I’d have liked; I’ve had some ginger in the past that’s just knocked my socks off and this wasn’t at that spice-level.

And on my way back from the gym it started snowing!! Obviously, the East is getting pummeled today, and it’s finally hitting New England; we’re supposed to get 6-10 inches! There’s also a great chance my only class will be cancelled, so I went ahead and put on lazy sweat pants, and now need to think of what to do for today. Obviously, there’s a little homework. Beyond that, I’ve just got an email about next year’s housing which has me thinking. I really lucked out this year. I got into the perfect dorm for me and got paired with a great roommate and we respect each other well. For higher years, however, it’s done a little more differently; there’s a bit of play involved. I could partner up with a group of 6–if I could find 6–and have us go into the “housing lottery” for a suite, go in completely solo and throw myself to chance, or a number of things in between.  My dream would probably be a solo in the dorm I live in now(Wayland). That’s not very likely, though, for a Sophomore. If anything, the top preference on my list would be to live in the same building at least as this year; I lived in one house my whole life so clearly, when I settle somewhere, I like to settle. There’s always hoping, right?

Editted to add:

I just got an email that class is back on, even though I can tell you right now it is not going to be pretty out at 3-6 in the afternoong. Ugh. And today was the class I volunteered to bring in snacks for(raw vegan brownies). I guess I know where my afternoon is going to. Aww, man, now I need to put on real pants!

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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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Mighty Tasty

Posted on January 16, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I’m just going to keep telling myself I don’t have a problem with chocolate, and then it won’t be true, right?

Xocai Xobiotic Square And Q.bel Milk Chocolate Wafer Bars

After Ghost Whisperer I made a bit of a chocolate snack plate. I had a Xocai Xobiotic sqaure for my dark chocolate tooth and my 2nd probiotic source of the day. If only all chocolate had probiotics in it, wouldn’t that be grand? Then, for my milk chocolate tooth, I sampled the Q.bel milk chocolate wafer bar. Holy yum! My, how I loved this, and usually I’m not even a fan of rice crisps! I think they were tolerated well because they went so well with the thin wafers. I loved how the chocolate basically melted as it touched my mouth–it couldn’t even wait to get in. While I was watching The Best Thing I Ever Ate, I kept the Cookie Friday celebration rolling.

The Raw Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookie

Goat Milk Yogurt With Raspberry Jam And A Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie

First of all, would you believe I didn’t have oatmeal for once? Maybe it’s a sign of the apocalypse; better hold on. For some reason, goat milk yogurt with raspberry sounded better(especially when garnished with a cookie ;-)). This cookie was by far the best raw cookie I’ve ever eaten. Granted, that’s not fighting too many, but still kudos to The Raw Bakery! The base tasted very “vanilla”–not nutty–even though the ingredient list makes me think this wasn’t overdone with sugar(or, agave nectar as it were).

This morning I decided to give the strength training a break and stick with the cardio and 200 flights. I should check to see what alternative workouts we have On Demand to do to switch things up. Then again, I am a creature of habit and that yogurt-for-oatmeal thing was enough change for me for a week. For breakfast I had a tooth for–would you believe it–chocolate?

Greek Yogurt With Milk Chocolate Peanut Sunspires

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Walnut Butter And Pumpkin Cream Cheese

After seeing that episode of Good Eats about Alton’s diet, I feel like he would be so proud of my breakfasts 🙂 The oatmeal was like a comforting return to an old friend, even though I had to scrape the mold off the top of the cream cheese(ewww! But I’m determined to eat what I can of it). For the yogurt, I mixed 4.5oz non-fat with 1oz full fat for a nice, creamy 2%, which went great with the milk chocolate and just a pinch of salt. And now I feel as though I’ve had my candy fix for the day(did anybody believe me? No? K, good. Just checking).

We were planning on recreating a healthy version of American Chop Suey(*drool*) tomorrow for lunch, but now my mom’s going to a cousin’s birthday party 😦 We’ll squeeze that recipe in sometime soon. And maybe I can milk a meal at a restaurant out of all of this? Hehe.

Since I know you all love Chobani Giveaway’s, here’s another

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Finding Groceries And Motivation.

Posted on January 7, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I love it when title just right themselves. It saves me from trying to be witty and failing. This one totally applies to my past 16 hours. Right after blogging last night, we made a midnight(err, 7:30pm) Whole Foods trip. It was simpler to do this with our schedules these days and we needed meals for the next few nights. We went to the Framingham Whole Foods and now I have to wonder: How long has it been since I’ve been there? Because there was a lot of new finds. First we stopped at Stop And Shop to get more pumpkin, and 2 things caught my eye.

TRUwhip At Stop And Shop

Soap Opera Digest

Stop And Shop now sells TRUwhip and for cheap! Unfortunately, the holidays are over but if you have any excuse to buy some, do! It’s so good and keeps in your freezer. And apparently I’m in for a “shocking death” sometime this week. If I write a really nasty and angry blog post around 2:05 tomorrow, assume I wasn’t happy with who died 😦 Then we went to Whole Foods where I basically ran around like a chicken without a head. They always ay go grocery shopping Wednesday nights and it’s so true! There was no one there(except me, of course). And I just wanted to get things and get out so I could go to bed. But look at all the new products I found!

Caramel And Chocolate Oikos

Luna Protein Bars

Clif Fruit And Nut Strips

Clif Fruit And Nut Strips

The new Oikoi(Oikos in plural in Greek) are out! Like I said, I don’t know why these are so exciting to me since I could theoretically put chocolate and caramel over a plain Oikos, but for some reason they are(I didn’t end up buying one though). And the new Clif bars are here, too! Even though they weren’t on sale, I couldn’t resist picking one out “just to try”. I went with the cookie dough Luna because I love me some cookie dough. We saved so much on coupons and sales, it was ridiculous! The cashier actually commented and wanted to know how we were doing it 😉 All you need to do is cut from the Whole Deal flier and wait for the sales to match. There was one thing I payed for myself not on sale or with a coupon.

Burnt Sugar Chocolate Fudge

I’ve been having a major fudge craving. I was thinking about making my own vegan version, but after realizing all the powdered sugar I’d need, it seemed so much simpler to pay someone else to make it for me. This should be delicious. If I did make a vegan version, I would use this:

Soy Free Earth Balance

The kind people at Earth Balance sent me some coupons to try their version of an all-natural vegan butter spread, and with my first coupon I picked out this one which I’ve seen on Heather’s blog a lot. A solid fat has a lot of advantages in cooking and baking that liquid doesn’t so this should be fun to play with. And it has no cholesterol because it’s vegan–score.

Steaz Soda And Organic Whole Wheat Pasta

I think my dad was more giddy about the savings we got than I was. The pasta is normall $3 a pound, but they were on sale for $2 and Whole Foods had a $1 coupon off two, so we got BOTH for $3. And the Steaz is normally around $4.49 for a 4-pack, but are on sale for $2.66 this week, and there’s a buy 1 get 1 in the Whole Deal. So instead of $9 for both, we got both for $2.66. That is some savings! We also got regular stuff like chicken and beef for dinners(both on sale). After everything was put away, I had a new chocolate to sample and review.

Vivani Organic Dark Chocolate With Lemon

Vivani sent me some of their products to try and review and lemon was just what I was craving. They’re a European country that makes their chocolate with only 3 or 4 ingredients and no soy lecithin. If you’ve never looked, that’s a common emulsifier in American chocolate, so this is more friendly to people who are allergic to or intolerant of soy. This flavor was really good; the lemon wasn’t super loud like I was hoping, but then again no one would want to bite into chocolate and feel like they’re sucking on a lemon. I loved the flavor of the 70% dark chocolate which makes me excited to try that one soon.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Mighty Maple

A little later I needed something nutty and melty so I made this with a new can of pumpkin. Yum! It hit the spot. After watching Hugh Jackman on Jay Leno I tried to get to bed, but no dice. Ever have it when you’re just so ready to start the next day you can shut off your mind to end this one? That’s how I felt like last night. And the fact that I almost napped during Gettysburg didn’t help. After 40 minutes of turning I decided hot food would help.

Tempeh With Quick BBQ Sauce

Who craves tempeh at 11:40? Apparently, I do. It was so good with a little BBQ sauce(ketchup, liquid smoke, and mustard). I turned on Conan and fell asleep to that, and amazingly wasn’t to tired when I woke up at 7:30. Now for the motivation part: Yesterday, I was completely lazy all day and did nothing. There’s nothing wrong with that, and in fact I think it made me more excited to get things done today and how! I wrote a to-do list before I went to bed detailing as much as I could. First up was my workout; I decided to do my core followed by 200 flights. After the muscle-building power moves of the core, I reached for a snack to eat for the cardio of the stairs.

Cookie Dough Luna Protein

Ho-Ly-Crap. This bar was amazing! It was so good, I had to give it a 10/10. The flavor for once was a perfect rendition of cookie dough. And the nutrition was just what I like during a workout: some sugars, a good deal of whole proteins, minerals to be absorbed, and sodium for replenishing. Really, I couldn’t stop thinking about this for the hour I was climbing(that and pumping along to embarrassing songs like Cowboy Casanova and Hey, Soul Sister). What I also loved was it was the perfect size to let me cool down and shower before making breakfast without feeling in a rush. That way, when I had breakfast, it was just how I wanted it to be.

Cinnamon Banana Oatmeal With Maple Walnut Butter

Chobani With Raspberry Jam

Sometimes there’s nothing better than simple yogurt topped with simple jam–fruity and delicious. I meant to make banana goodness bread oats which would have involved vanilla powder and vanilla stevia but I forgot(whoops) and instead it was simple banana and cinnamon. That was good, but not as flavorful. On top I mixed together Artisana raw walnut butter with maple butter from New Hampshire for some nutty sweetness.

1/7/10 List

See? There really is a list, for today anyway. I love how my day is broken up: Workout, Shower, Breakfast, Lunch, Baking, Dinner, Dessert. That pretty much sums me up 🙂 And I’m doing so good! Right now I’ve done everything I was supposed to, except having banana oatmeal instead of pumpkin. Well, we can’t all be perfect, right 😉

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A Domestic Day

Posted on January 5, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I will warn you this post might turn out to be just like my day: very long, delicious, full of British humor, and ending with a winning recipe. Just a warning.

Last night, after blogging, I felt like I needed more nuts in my life.

Tierra Farm's Organic Maple Glazed Mixed Nuts

In the box they sent me a while back, Tierra Farm included these maple glazed nuts. Maple and nuts? Two of my favorite things! I knew just how to try them out.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter And Maple Glazed Nuts

Delicious! These nuts were very good; they weren’t huge on the maple flavor but deliciously rich and satisfying. Note: They didn’t come in tiny pieces like that. I was actually impressed that they came all whole, and with a good selection. I just crushed them up to make them more oatmeal friendly, and threw in some sweet peanut butter. This did a great job at getting me sleepy and in the mood for bed.

Unfortunately, all this week I’ve been waking up around 4am, and I’m not sure why. Originally, it was always to go to the bathroom. Since reducing the amounts of liquids I have before bed, however, I’m still waking up, but not needing to go to the bathroom. Suggestions on how to “fix” this? I’d like to imagine(or use this as an excuse) that this is why I did not feel like working out this morning. Didn’t Kelly Clarkson once say something like “Some months I feel like working out, and some months I just feel like eating ding-dongs”? Well, if that’s the case, then I’m saying some months I feel like running, and some months I feel like watching I Love Lucy, because that’s what I did for the first hour of my day as I sipped down 2 cups of coffee. After showering from that “workout”, I had a seasonal breakfast.

Nog Greek Yogurt

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Walnut Butter And Pumpkin Cream Cheese, Drizzled With Maple Syrup

Very wintery and delicious. For the yogurt I used 1/4 cup Nog and a little bit of my Xanthan gum! I’ve had a problem with Nog yogurt being too thin for my preference but the gum really thickened it up. I wouldn’t say, however, that it’s flavorless. It’ll be interesting to see if now I can pick out its flavor in other products, too. The oatmeal with Artisana walnut butter and cream cheese was just beautiful; I swear I’m going to eat the rest of that cream cheese before it grows mold again… again.

Like the title says, this was a very domestic day. I had the house to myself and plenty on my to-do list to finish. Would you believe I haven’t downloaded music in months. These were the few songs I’ve heard on the radio recently that I had to have.

Recently Added

That gave me the chance to charge my iPod, Nintendo DS, and cell phone. While I was doing that, I was also looking online for a good vegan meatloaf recipe. In true Evan-fashion, I couldn’t find one that fit my wants perfectly or I had all the ingredients for, so I took a little of each and made my own. I’ll admit–making my own recipe for something that I’ve never even had before felt a little silly, but I had high hopes for this.

Lentils And Trader Joe's Brown Rice Mix

The “meat” of the loaf I decided was brown rice and lentils, which are two of my mom’s favorite vegan foods(and probably the only two). Instead of plain brown rice, I used a Trader Joe’s mix that has some seeds in it, as well. In another bowl, I worked with all the dry and wet ingredients, and 60 minutes later had it actually looking like a “loaf”

Uncooked Vegan Meatloaf

Not only have I never had vegan meatloaf before, I don’t think I’ve ever had regular meatloaf before. How weird is that? But after seeing this on Anna’s blog, I knew I really wanted it to work out. Did I mention I had to dice an onion for this? I felt like Julia Child from Julie & Julia. After the pot of rice for the loaf came off the stove, I decided that’d be good for lunch, too, so I threw another serving on. Besides that, I did not feel like cooking. Naturally, I let Al Fresco do the work.

Al Fresco Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausages

Brown Rice Bowl With Broccoli, Garlic Chicken Sausages, And Soy Sauce

Let’s not point out the irony in shoving a vegan meatloaf in the refrigerator and pulling out chicken sausages to eat. Instead, let me just tell you how good these sausages were. In our Italian household, we’ve never been shy about adding garlic to dishes. It’s just one of those spices I cannot get enough of. Apparently, somebody at Al Fresco felt the same, because they just let these have the flavor like it was nobody’s business. It tasted so good with the soy sauce and rice(yes, there’s rice under there).

After lunch, I really wanted to get a good workout in. I came up with what I’m calling the “Count to 10” cardio and fitness workout. All you need to do is know how to count to 10, and you can do it!

  • Walk up and down a flight of stairs 10 times
  • Do 10 push-ups
  • Walk up and down a flight of stairs 10 times
  • Do 10 sit-ups
  • Repeat for 10 iterations

Isn’t that simple? But it’s also good in that it works you for a while, and works your legs, abs, and arms. Next time I do this, I’ll probably raise the sit-ups to 20 to fit my own fitness, but you can play around with it as you will. The whole thing took about 70 minutes, and halfway through I reached for some electrolytes.

Orange Bot Beverage

Just today, Bot Beverages sent m a pack of their lightly sweetened sport waters to sample and review. The timing for this really worked out perfectly, and orange sounded like a zesty flavor to start. The Orange Bot wasn’t incredibly flavorful, but it was definitely better than water for replenishing myself; and I’m ecstatic to see a company who believes you don’t need high sugar and artificial flavors and colors to have a good workout. I ended up drinking 1/2 the bottle and saving the rest for another time. After those electrolytes, for my post-workout eats I turned to some protein.

Chocolate Greek Yogurt With Orange Dark Chocolate Shavings

Really, I’ll look towards any excuse to eat chocolate. And because I was on an orange kick, I shaved on a square of the 1.4oz organic Endangered Speciesdark chocolate with natural orange flavor. The orange wasn’t super pronounced(just like the Bot water), but it was a nice hint of flavor. And, as I’ve pointed out, I’m really saving the environment by eating chocolate 😉 During this, my mom came home and was delighted to see dinner mostly made. We threw the meatloaf in the oven at 5:30 so it’d be ready for dinner when my dad got home.

Vegan Meatloaf

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup dry lentils
  • 1/2 cup dry brown rice
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons your favorite seasoning
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 large onion
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons mustard

On the stove, cook completely your brown rice and lentils. While those are simmering, dice the onion and shave the carrot. In a food processor or mini chopper, finely crush the walnuts into crumbs. Combine all of those in a dish with the bread crumbs, salt, and seasoning. When the brown rice is ready, toss it in that bowl. In a separate bowl, mush the cooked lentils with a potato masher until a thick puree. Add to the rice mixture the ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, vinegar, and tomato sauce and mix. Lastly, add the lentil puree and fold until fully incorporated. Transfer this into a loaf pan. For best results, let the laof sit in the refrigerator for 2-5 hours before baking if time allows. When ready to cook, bake in an oven preheated to 325 degrees for 60 minutes, and let cool on counter covered for another 10 minutes before cutting into.

Since the loaf is so dense and nutritious, we didn’t cook too much alongside it. We simply roasted some brussels sprouts.

Vegan Meatloaf, Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Oh my God was this good! Right off the bat, with the ketchup and mustard and onions it reminded us all of a McDonalds hamburger. Except it was vegan–go figure! My mom also enjoyed that it was soy free(save some soy sauce). The loaf didn’t hold together as well as I hoped it would but that’s probably because we took it out a little early. I ended up eating probably twice as much as pictured, and it was sooo worth it even if it’s made me bloated like a balloon. For once I can say I’m truly excited to have leftovers!

After dinner, my parents decided they needed to go to the grocery store to pick up some things, and I opted to stay home to watch Dr. Who and do work like write 4 product reviews, a recipe, and this post. I must really like blogging if I turned down a trip to the grocery store for it 🙂 Since then, they’ve came back with a McDonalds’ coffee for me, which has already “disappeared”, and I’m watching the new Biggest Loser! Now I just need to remember that, as delicious as this vegan meatloaf is, it’s not as easily digestable as chocolate or oatmeal at 9pm at night…

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Spick And Span

Posted on December 31, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

That’s the most ridiculous phrase, if you ask me. Does anyone actually know what it means? I feel like I could do some funky research with my linguistics background but–meh–it’s a holiday and I’d rather be lazy 🙂 Anyway, that’s what we’re doing right now: Making everything “spick and span” for our guests soon to arrive. That’s as opposed to last night when I was throwing pillows everywhere, emptying salt containers on the counter, and rustling the leaves from out Christmas tree just for fun. JK! But I was in a mood to try something new.

Dark Chocolate Q.Bel Wafer Rolls In Raspberry Chobani

Correction: I tried 2 new things. To get some more probiotics in my day, I gave the raspberry Chobani a try. Yum! I am soooo excited for this flavor to hit shelves. I would grab the pomegranate one soley because it reminded me of raspberry. However, I’m majorly depressed sugar beats out raspberry on the ingredient list 😦 That’s not the case on any other Chobani fruit flavors, so I can’t help but wonder why here?

The other thing I tried was Q.bel‘s dark chocolate wafer roll. Again, yum! But then again, what dark chocolate isn’t? I liked how this was more sweet than bitter, but only because of the wafer part. In my mind, I was hoping for more of a hard chocolate coating but a soft, flowing syrupy center(I can dream, can’t I?). That wasn’t really the case, but it was still good. After that I was exhausted and wanted to go to bed early. My mind, however, had other plans.

Vegan Whole Wheat Cinnamon Roll With Smart Balance Peanut Butter

I really think they’re lying on the ingredients or the nutritional info here because these are simply too good. Is cinnamon roll envy a viable reason to spark an investigation against a company? I think so, and I’m not above that. To make it more “night time appropriate”, I slathered on some healthy nut butter and picked out all the raisins.

Leftover Raisins

Definitely didn’t need that sugar before going to bed. I’m actually not a big raisin fan at all(hence leaving them out of my cinnamon roll recipe). That is unless we’re talking about Rum Raisin Gelato, in which case all bets are off 🙂 I thought I was waking up earlier this morning after listening to a few songs on the radio and shutting my alarm off but as it turned out I woke up at 7:40, again. Oh well, I’ll save that change for the new year. Eventually I got around to drinking more coffee than I’d care to mention and making a breakfast.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Pumpkin Cream Cheese And Walnut Butter, Fat Free Greek Yogurt With Banana Pineapple Rum Jam

My last breakfast of 2009, to be exact(I really hate always thinking about that “last” thing). I didn’t have any pumpkin yesterday so clearly that erupted into my bowl of oatmeal. I love the pumpkin cream cheese/walnut butter combo because the cream cheese has speckles of walnuts in it. I was soooo happy to have something other than 2% yogurt after 2 weeks. Even “plain” as a flavor can get old. Fast. Afterwards I got spick and span myself in the shower and started the party plating.

Pad Thai Hummus And Sunny Hummus

My two hummuses I made yesterday. I’m predicting the Pad Thai Hummus to go over really well with this crowd. I also baked, of course.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter And Chocolate Brownies

Since one of the people coming is perhaps the biggest chocolate fan I know I decided to make gluten free chocolate mint brownies. This time, however, I made the chocolate and peanut butter by swapping out vanilla extract for mint and using 2 tablespoons chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons peanut butter chips. The peanut butter chips weren’t gluten-free certified but none of the ingredients should have gluten. And since it’s not a genuine health concern of anybody, I figured it’d be fine. I decided I was hungry for lunch at 12 and ended up spending 45 minutes making a meal. I think that’s a new record for me. Oh well, it was worth it!

Pad Thai Hummus With Green Pepper, Brussels With Steak Sauce And Tempeh Bacon

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

I caved on the hummus a little early because I’m not much of a snacker at parties and like to just eat things in meals. Now I can recommend it and have had my full 🙂 I was looking for a more smoky flavor with the brussels than the steak sauce has so I added a strip of pan-heated tempeh bacon and plenty of salt. Really, though, the pudding was entirely what I wanted; and it was sooo good! I pureed 3oz avocado with 2 tablespoons cocoa in my food processor. After that I used a fork to add 3 tablespoons coconut milk kefir, stevia, and vanilla powder. The result could not have been more perfect. All it is(besides delicious) is fat and fiber. And look how nicely the day is turning out!

Snow

I was dreaming of a white Christmas New Years and it looks like we’re getting one! I can’t bellieve it. I also can’t believe that a) my mom hasn’t been stressed out by company being here in a few hours and started yelling yet and b) that the decade is now almost over. After listening to the DJ’s on the radio reminisce and think back myself, I think this decade was best for two things: American Idol and Survivor. I hardly ever voted for American Idol these days, but who can deny that it has given us so many great artists? Besides that, Survivor is just my favorite show on television, and I imagine the same for others since it’s going into its 20th season. It totally built the world of reality television. What will you remember the decade for?

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This Is Why I Can’t Have Nice Things

Posted on December 27, 2009. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I was sooo anxious this morning to break out my new food processor, I couldn’t even wait until after lunch! I decided that the first thing I would try to tackle is a chocolate peanut butter; I have not found one to my liking yet and was hoping to create my very own with peanuts and my favorite chocolate bar: Newman’s Own Organic Mocha Milk Chocolate.

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter

The flavor came out pretty good–or at least better than what I’ve had. But while that was happening, so did this.

Broken Top Piece

I swear, I can’t have nice things for more than 5 minutes without something going wrong. I was making my peanut butter, and my dad was pretty much hovering over my right shoulder. When I unscrewed the top I lost focus trying to tell him to go away and dropped it on the floor, shattering some of the plastic. I was definitely livid, but it’s not my style to scream my face off at people, so instead I burried my face in my hands and continued until I was finished making my peanut butter. I hate that that sounds like such an excuse I’m making for myself, and I know after all is said and done I was the one who dropped it. Even 30 minutes later, emotions were not settled and not much talking amongst people happened before lunch, which my grandmother came over for.

Sweet Potato With Maple Butter, Cornish Hen, Broccoli

We heated up 2 of the leftover hens and I portioned out 4 ounces. I was surprised to see how little that was; I can’t imagine how much hen I had on Christmas! Oh well, it was a holiday 🙂 Still afterwards things were a bit icey, but I snagged the main computer to play with for my new peanut butter.

Nutrition Label

Did you know about nutritiondata.com? I just found out about it this afternoon. You can use it to find out the nutrition of anything you make! This peanut butter turned out pretty good, too. Had I known it would only have 2.5g of sugar per serving, I would have added more chocolate 😉 I could definitely see this site being more useful for things. At the same time, I’d rather not know how fattening some desserts are, haha. Afterwards, my grandmother was heading to the store, so I thought I’d tag along.

Grammy Mercy

Yes, the one with the purple steering wheel you all loved so much 🙂 You should have been at that yankee swap! Their was no love for the steering wheel that year. We went to a normal grocery store where she bought my groceries–joy! It was just tofu and some baking chocolate, but that was a nice surprise. I don’t think she knows what tofu even is, haha. We also stopped at an all-natural food store where I went to get nuts and found a fun surprise.

Butterscotch Extract

Had you ever heard of this? I always thought butterscotch only came in unnatural forms these days unless you whip some up yourself, and I was none to keen on that. I also was hungry so I made myself some brain power oatmeal.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Walnut Butter And Goji Ginger Walnut Cookies

Delicious! And now I can eat walnut butter knowing I can make my own once I finish the jar! Oh, and the goji cookies helped my brain, too 😉 And now I’m off to play with my nuts! Err… you know what I mean.

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