Sweets And Cheese

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

If I had to summarize in two words what I ate today, it would be “Cheese” and “Sweet”. I’m pretty sure those are the only two tooths I have in my mouth(and I embrace that).

Pirate's Booty Aged White Cheddar

The first culprit was this bag of Pirate’s Booty. I was sent a ton of flavors to review; none were particularly “sweet” so I went for the cheesiest mother of them all. At the same time, I had the oven going and baked some maple tofu.

Aged White Cheddar Pirate's Booty, Maple Tofu, Steamed Broccoli

Maple Baked Tofu

Maple baked tofu–simple, sweet, and so(y) delicious. The tofu came out particularly good because I had it pressing all morning and changed the towel thrice; when you get a ton of water out, you really notice the difference. These corn puffs were good, but didn’t really blow me away; I liked the flavor but the texture was just OK and overall they were “meh”. Maybe one of the other flavors will impress me more.

While I was watching this I got around to watching my DVRed Oprah with Michael Pollon. I know–I’m so behind! But I really liked this episode and was able to connect with it a lot. The part with Alicia Silverstone and Oprah talking about their business had me rolling on the floor! I do get what they’re saying, though. I also found it funny that Alicia “slips up” on cheese sometimes. It gets the best of us 😀

Count-To-10 Workout Sheet

In the afternoon I did my Count-To-10 workout. This’ll be perfect for any readers lamenting being stuck in doors for the storm! In case you forgot, it’s super simple:

  • 10 flights of stairs
  • 10 push-ups(15 for me)
  • 10 flights of stairs
  • 10 sit-ups(20 for me)
  • Repeat 10 times.

Obviously, I use a checklist just to keep track. While I was doing this, the mail came, and I got a “sweet” surprise.

Uli Mana's Raw Desserts

Uli Mana sent me a sampler of some of their sweet and raw treats. The seal on them was broken, but since these came straight from a closed USPS box, I assumed they were untampered and safe.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding With Goji Berries And Raw Chocolate Sauce, Raw Hemp Brownie

Umm, sweetest post-workout recovery meal ever? I think so. Where to start? This brownie was simply amazing. I’ll count it as my “Cookie Friday” treat(like I don’t have one of these every day). This was the 3rd bought raw brownie I tried, along with the 2 that I’ve made, and it was by far my favorite; it tasted sooo fudgy! I think the secret must have been in the cacao butter. I need to find me some. Any good brand suggestions? Or even just brands? The pudding was delicious and antioxidant rich with Navitas Naturals goji berries, but I added a little something to sweeten it up even more…

Xagave Raw Agave Nectar

Xagave sent me some of their agave nectar to bake and experiment with. Again, where to start? Simply put, from the 1 time I’ve used this so far, I’d highly recommend it. I mentioned on Monday(and even got some agreeance from readers!) that the agave nectar I used just didn’t taste sweet at all. Well, that was “Trader Joe’s raw agave nectar” for anyone curious. This, on the other hand, tasted sweet. It tasted really sweet, like I’ve been told agave nectar should. I can’t wait to bake more with it! Since I don’t prefer sweets for dinner, it was back to eating cheesy.

Next Generation Organic Dairy Raw Probiotic Garlic Parsley Cheddar Cheese Sticks

Yet another flavor of Next Generation Organic Dairy cheese to review. I knew this’d make a great addition to dinner not only because it’s no-carb, and high-protein and fat, but because of the added probiotics.

Lemon Cauliflower, Garlic Parsley Cheddar Cheese Stick, Grass Fed Beef Medallion

Dinner was also particularly good since we found out that Whole Foods(at least the one in Providence) sells grass-fed beef; sooo much cheaper than from a restaurant! And perfectly cooked so long as you know what you’re doing 😀 It tastes fantastic and I had my whole medallion. I was a bit underwhelmed though with this cheese stick; it tasted cheesy for sure, but the complexity somewhat stopped there. I suppose if it were too garlicy, that also would have been a problem, so I’m not sure where the perfect balance would have been. I do just love that they even make these in stick form; perfect for probiotics on the go!

And now, I’m thinking more sweet than cheesy for dessert. Wouldn’t you agree 🙂 For some interesting reading, here’s an article on the benefits of goat’s milk yogurt!  That’s a bandwagon I can get on. And here’s a jam giveaway and a granola giveaway

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Trying New Things

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

As much as I love my routine, I also love trying new things(so long as they fit in, somehow). Well, I’ve just tried 4 new things and 3 of them were a hit! Would you be surprised if I told you the 3 were food and the 1 was not? 🙂 Didn’t think so. Last night it seemed like everything was a repeat on television; what was with that? I ended up watching an old Grey’s and having a sweet snack.

Q.bel Mint Wafers

Q.bel came out with 2 new flavors this year and I got both of them in the prize pack I won from Facebook! One of those flavors is mint, which seemed like a nice palate cleansing dessert. I looved this, and reviewed it here. It was kind of like a peppermint patty but with a little wafer in there, too. I’m confused why they used milk fat in the dark chocolate; that makes it milk in my book, but it’s still really deep in flavor. These Q.bel bars are really dense in calories for something so light, but Twitter friends assured me it’s all good:

TryingToHeal @EvanFMFF Um, yes. All chocolate should be devoid of calories anyhow.

The judge has spoken. After that I tried another new thing with my bowl of oatmeal.

Organic Vanilla Cinnamon Almond Butter

I ordered a few favorites from Naturally Nutty with my Christmas money. When I opened up the box, I was surprised to find this little gift Katie snuck in: a new flavor! It’s so new, it doesn’t have it’s own label yet. But when it comes out in Spring it will be Organic Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Butter. Yes please!

Oatmeal With Organic Vanilla Cinnamon Almond Butter

This was delicious! I had a feeling I’d like it, since I looove the vanilla almond butter for it’s clean, crisp taste. The vanilla cinnamon almond butter had that same cleanness to it, but with an added depth from the cinnamon. I was impressed how it’s spiced so that the cinnamon doesn’t detract from the other spices–definitely on to keep an eye out for on their website.

This morning I “slept in” and felt raring to go to the gym.. And when I say slept in, I mean 7am; I just couldn’t not be an early bird. I grabbed a bar–a new one–and was off.

18 Rabbits Funky Figs And Cherries Granola Bar

I’ll share the disappointing part first: This bar didn’t really taste like figs or cherries 😦 It definitely had those in there, but they tasted more generic like raisins in raisin bran. Overall, though, this was another story; I loved how the texture was chewy and crunchy, and this was packed with seeds and nuts. The strongest flavors were hazelnuts and cacao nibs, which were perfect. And this has so little sugar, it really makes me happy. The quaker oats man needs to take a lesson from 18 Rabbits!

New Bike Machine

As for the workout, I started by running an awesome 7 miles. I had to slow the pace a lot lower than I’d like. But that let me go further than I expected I could at this point at the game, and I’m all for rebuilding that endurance. After 7 miles, which took a little more than an hour, I decided to try this bike machine for another 30 minutes of The Today Show at resistance level 3. Confession: I’ve never really used a bike machine before, so this was totally new.

Uncomfortable Seat

It felt like an OK workout–not quite like running in my opinion 😉 My only question has to be what is with that seat?! I would think if you’re going to be rigorously active somewhere for extended periods of time, you’d want that place to be comfortable. A pillow, maybe? Not something with a rigid figure that probably was too loose. Another thing: I wouldn’t mind a virtual reality helmet so I feel like I’m biking through a sunny neighborhood or something–just saying.

Greek Yogurt With Raspberry Jam

French Toast Oatmeal With 2 Cage Free Eggs, Maple Syrup, And Cinnamon

Breakfast was not at all new and that I did not mind. I could just never get enough of yogurt with raspberry jam. And no fancy shmancy jam here; 365 brand is a great and tasty bang for your buck. I picked up a french toast craving somewhere along the way and made my oatmeal with 2 Eggland’s Best cage free eggs and topped it with New Hampshire maple syrup and Trader Joe’s cinnamon–perfect. It felt so “homey”. And maple syrup season is only 2 months away! So I better eat up all that “old” stuff, haha.

I’m so glad it’s really the weekend already; I love having most of my morning to spend working out, but if I were expected to do anything after that I’d feel so behind and lost. I have a short and simple to-do list to tackle, and plenty of time to get on that. Happy Friday!

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Nutelling What I Think

Posted on January 26, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review, Rant | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I keep things in my life–including my blog–free of controversy. I don’t confront people a lot, and always try to respect others opinions while keeping my own. At the same time, I love a good rant 😀 So skip down to the end for me blowing my top on a not-so-nutty topic.

Soy Yogurt With Milk Chocolate Peanuts

I wanted to eat up this soy yogurt so it would be one less thing to carry back to school with me. Of course, what’s soy yogurt without a milk chocolate topic? Irony is tasty. I love how the peanuts taste a little roasted and salted; that contrast definitely helps bring out the sweetness of chocolate. I tried throwing myself back in to Heroes since it looked like the only new thing on television, but since I haven’t seen any of the 2010 episodes I was a little confused. Claire has daddy drama again? That can’t be healthy.

I decided the night would be perfect for a new nut butter. This was one of the ones I bought from Justin’s online store with my Christmas money. It’s similar to Nutella in concept, but the stats are much better as I’ll go into later.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

Mmmm, yum! It melted so well over the oatmeal. This one’s a keeper. It didn’t taste too chocolatey; it more tasted like hazelnuts sweetened up. But that’s what I hope for in a hazelnut butter. And, unlike Nutella, this is vegan! I hope it reaches store shelves before I go through it(I hear it’s already in Colorado!). I ate this watching the star from NCIS on Leno. That was possibly the least interesting interview I’ve seen; oh Conan, we’ll miss you and your wit! I ended up tuning out early, going to bed, and waking up to a sweet surprise.

Box Of Q.Bel Chocolate

I mentioned yesterday that I won a Facebook contest for reviewing Q.Bel. Well, apparently they have Speedy Gonzalez running deliveries for them because I got my prize at 7:20 am from FedEx. Look at that chocolate! I can’t wait to try out the 2 new flavors. That’s definitely one way to start the day. That excitement aside, I started doing my core and did that through. When I got to the cardio(stairs), I grabbed something with protein and carbs.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Luna Protein Bar

I wish I had time to review this now; I will sometime soon and I’d give it a 7.5/10. But I think I say it all when I ate about 1/3-1/2 and just threw the rest out. And I HATE wasting food. It just tasted OK. But it almost was more like a candy bar and definitely not a whole food. I figured, if I wanted to eat a candy bar at the time I should have a Q.bel and if I wanted peanut butter I should have peanut butter. After I finished all the flights, I made a breakfast to “redeem” chocolate and peanut butter.

Vanilla Greek Yogurt

Oatmeal With Chocolate Peanut Butter

Ok. I’ve made my peace with chocolate and peanut butter now. I assure you, the dollop of peanut butter was big; it just got “nestled” into the oats after I popped it back in the microwave for 15 minutes(doesn’t that sound delicious :-D). For the yogurt, I just mixed full fat and 0% with some vanilla stevia and vanilla powder and it was nice and clean tasting. Once again, Justin’s nut butter made me happy 🙂 That was such a good purchase with my Christmas money.

Not Nutella

I’ll admit it: There was a time I adored Nutella and kept it in my pantry. There was also a time I had a Barney plush and thought about tearing out all my teeth if it meant I’d get a dollar under my pillow. But I’ve grown older, and wiser, and just cannot stand Nutella or its marketing. Have you ever noticed how they call it a “Hazelnut spread”? That’s because, legally, they cannot call it a hazelnut butter. The ingredients and statistics of it are so poor, I’m amazed they can get that far.

INGREDIENTS: SUGAR, MODIFIED PALM OIL, HAZELNUTS, COCOA, SKIM MILK, REDUCED MINERALS WHEY (FROM MILK), SOY LECITHIN: AN EMULSIFIER, VANILLIN: AN ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR.

What’s more appropriate would be “Chocolate Pate” or even “Palm Oil Spread”. But would you top your oatmeal with something called “Palm Oil Spread”? Probably not. But there it is, higher on the ingredients than hazelnuts. And modified to boot! And the list is rounded out with vanillin, which I just can not stand and am happy to have out of my diet. Is it going to hurt you? Not at all. It’s just the hallmark of a cheap product. Now let’s look at Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter:

Ingredients: Dry Roasted Hazelnuts, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Cocoa Powder, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Palm Fruit Oil, Natural Vanilla, Sea Salt.

That looks 10 times better to me. No, 100x. It’s a legitimate hazelnut butter–not a chocolate spread. The ingredients are straight forward and organic. And the nutritional information reads like a nut butter. I’ll leave you with a good rule for buying a flavored nut butter: If the grams of sugar are more than the fiber and protein, look at it with a skeptical eye; if the grams of sugar are more than the fat, put it down and walk away.

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From Loser To Winner

Posted on January 25, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Self-sabotage is a funny thing: Do we do it on purpose? Do we do it subconsciously? Or does it just “happen”? I’m not quite sure, but I entirely sabotaged my workout this morning. I planned on doing the count-to-10 workout modified by 15 push-ups and 20 sit-ups. In anticipation, I drank. A lot. No, not beer–get your mind out of the gutter. But coffee, water, and black tea, and all this had me feeling like a hot mess when I got going.

It wasn’t pretty. I got through 1/4 of the workout and realized I was over-hydrated, overheated, and doing anything more would just be stupid; if you can hear “splish-splosh” when you do a sit-up, it wasn’t meant to be. I felt like a loser, but I just stopped and went to somewhere I’m always usually a winner: The kitchen.

Crunchy Sunflower Seed Butter

I must have gotten onto a sunflower seed kick after breakfast. First up, I made a sunflower seed butter that I’ll hopefully like more than Trader Joe’s(sorry, Joe, but you failed me there). I added sea salt and sunflower seeds at the end so this would be a crunchy seed butter. Who doesn’t love texture? Next up, I sought to make some new and improved raw brownies.

Raw Brownies

Avery led me to a recipe that I was able to modify to my own tastes. I most definitely wanted to use seeds as a binder, and just needed to adjust the cocoa/agave/date ratio. I think I ended up nailing them on the head. And while I usually don’t frost regular brownies(which I remember debated on Kalin’s blog once), these were just begging for something. The frosting was super simple, and by far the most fun thing to make.

Raw Vegan Brownies With Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 3/4 cup(120 grams) dates
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder

For the frosting:

  • 1oz avocado
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar

In a food processor, grind the sunflower seeds and flax seeds until mostly crumbs, but not to the point of becoming like butter. Add the dates and agave nectar and mix until a ball of dough forms. Add in the cocoa powder and continue mixing until well incorporated. Press into a square dish and cut.

For the frosting, mash the avocado until it reaches a smooth consistency. Add the cocoa powder and agave nectar and continue mixing until completely smooth. Spread over each of the brownies.

Raw Brownies With Frosting

Nailing this recipe really had me feeling like a winner. You know what else had me feeling like a winner? Actually winning Q.bel’s contest for a catchy and fun review on facebook! I can’t wait to get a big ol’ box of chocolate. I’ve already reviewed 5 of their products here but have yet to try the milk chocolate rolls or their 2 new flavors(vegan and mint). It was amazing how much my spirits had changed so much over the course of 1 hour. I was intensly ready for a winning lunch.

Steamed Broccoli, Lightlife Sausage With Cheddar Cheese And Green Pepper

Raw Vegan Chocolate Brownie With Raw Chocolate Frosting

I just love love love the Lightlife sausage(from a log, not pre-formed) heated up with some cheese; it’s like the perfect spice level for comfort. I usually make it with an onion but we’re all out so the pepper took that place(not too well). I don’t usually have dessert with my meal but I figured anything made mostly from seeds and dates wasn’t really a dessert(don’t you like the way I think ;-)). The brownie came out so good; it was actually just like the one I shelled out $5 for from Grezzo. I think it needs a little more chocolate flavor, but I don’t know how to do that without comprimising the texture, and the texture is amazing.

Work-Out Checklist

By 3 I was ready to retackle the workout. Over the last 4 hours, I had drank maybe half a cup of water and a cup of coffee(Hey, something needed to go with the brownie ;-)), and I felt overall better. I put the laptop near the stairs, played a movie, and got to work doing my count-to-1o series:

  • 10 flights of stairs
  • 15 push-ups
  • 10 flights of stairs
  • 20 sit-ups
  • Repeat for 10 iterations

To keep track while I’m doing this(and to make sure I really just need to count to 10), I use a checklist on the door to keep track of my progress. Obviously, once everything was checked off, I was done, and a sweaty mess at that. I quickly showered and then hopped to the kitchen for a refueling.

The Raw Bakery Chocolate Snackaroons

The Raw Bakery sent me these interesting snackaroons to try out, which I knew would go great on another one of my favorites:

Probiotic Chocolate Avocado Pudding With Chocolate Snackaroons

Chocolate avocado pudding. We picked up coconut milk kefir over the weekend so I was able to make this the way I love; it came out super creamy and coconut-licious. The chocolate snackaroons were just the perfect touch for some more coconut and healthy fats. Yum! They were perfectly raw-tasting, and held me over quite nicely until dinner.

Dill Salmon, Roasted Broccoli, Carrots With Maple And Soy Glaze

We had salmon we had to cook up, so I suggested throwing dill on top; dill is one of my favorite herbs ever, especially with fish–soo good! On the side was simple broccoli and carrots that needed another good 15 minutes in the oven. A little soy sauce(or wheat-free tamari for me) perks any vegetables up, though. I completely forgot to keep some in my dorm room all last semester; I won’t be making that mistake again.

Enter Holly’s amazing contest for a blender!

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Get Your Lutein Here

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

Avocado

Can you possibly look at that and not think “healthy”? I just love opening up an avocado and seeing all that green–makes me very happy 🙂 Yesterday, I think I set a record; I had my 2nd chocolate avocado pudding of the day(first one at breakfast). I know–I should just cave and buy a whole tree, right?

Chocolate Avocado Pudding With Dark Chocolate Raspberry Jam

What could possibly make a dark chocolate pudding better? Maybe this dark chocolate fruity jam. Sooo in heaven. I could eat this everyday. Oh, wait! I do! Haha. I ate this while watching The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Salt. Hello! Could there be a more perfect program for me? Oh, how I love my sodium. I took notes on EVERYTHING they said. Now I have the name of a brownie with caramel and sea salt I need to hunt down in Brooklyn, not like I’m ever there. It might or might not have inspired me to eat the best thing I ever ate with salt.

Trader Joe's Toasted Oat Bran

I got to open a new bag of oat bran(try not to get too excited)! I get the Trader Joe’s brand which is less than $3 for 2 pound. That’ll spread over 60 bowls for me! That’s a huge bargain. And they’re certified as gluten-free, if anyone needs that as well.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With SB PB And Nutritional Yeast

I might have been so excited I just had to take a picture while it was still in the microwave. I am just loooving the nutritional yeast/sea salt/peanut butter with agave combination; it tastes like a Lance cheddar cheese and peanut butter cracker 🙂 So salty and good right before bed time.

This morning I woke up right with my alarm(how often does that happen?) and thought about just doing cardio on the stairs. A little bribing and I decided to do full core as well…

Raw Vegan Raspberry Brownie

Not going to lie–I’m 100% bribable with baked goods 🙂 These set a little better overnight, and were still as rockin’-raspberry as ever. I updated my review of The Raw Bakery’s raw cacao brownie, however, because making these gave me a better appreciation for what they made. For breakfast, I was thinking about how the last thing I ate that wasn’t vegan was the goat milk yesterday afternoon. Oh what a departure from that!

2% Greek Yogurt

Oats With 2 Eggs

And a delicious one at that. I don’t really know the percent of the yogurt; I just take 4 parts plain 0% and mix it with 1 part full-fat, which gives it the perfect creaminess for flavor. For the eggs, I seperated the yolks and whites and cooked the whites 1 minute and added the yolks for 30 seconds; they ended up coming out a tad more done than I’d like for yolks because both were broken by the time I added them 😦 I think for them to be undercooked for me, they’d have to be still in the chicken.

Tip Of The Day: Lutein! What is it? It’s a carotenoid that’s beneficial for us, and in particular our eyes. It can be found in green goodies, most notably spinach and kale(so I’m sure no bloggers have problems getting their lutein ;-)). It’s also found in high quantities in avocadoes, like the one pictured in the beginning, and in egg yolks. Farmers actually feed their hens lutein-rich feed in order to make the yolks brighter and more appealing to consumer; the counter-benefit to this is that the yolks are packed with lutein(along with other notable vitamins and minerals). That’s one of many reasons to opt for vegetarian-fed eggs.

Today I have a super exciting(for me, at least) trip into the city planned, which means I’ve got to get ready in 3… 2… 1… now!

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The Seeds Make It Crunchy

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

Well I completely caved on that whole “rest day” thing after breakfast. I think all I needed was a little fuel in the tummy for some energy because I was raring to go right afterwards. I did my core(which you can just search and find for in some older posts if you’re interested) and 200 flights. I must say, highlights include(and are pretty much limited to) the “dance” action I was doing to Tik-Tok and contorting my neck to try to see what the mailperson was bringing through a window. Good news: It was a package from Crofter’s Organic! Bad news:

Broken Asia Superfood Spread

Not everything survived 😦 When I reached in and felt something gooey, I knew that couldn’t be good. Thankfully, I had some senses and realized to feel around too much and cut myself. The other 3 superfruit flavors arrived in good condition and I look forward to reviewing them. And lucky me won some of these jams from another giveaway so hopefully those will all arrive in one piece and I can review Asia, too 🙂

As for something I did review today…

Hickory Honey Barbeque Baked Kettle Chips

These weren’t from the company or anything; these are just chips I like a lot and have featured quite a bit, so I thought I’d write up my love for them here. Of course, they made an appearance at lunch…

Lemon Brussels Sprouts, Lightlife Beef In Tomato Sauce, Hickory Honey Barbeque Chips

With some more “healthy” stuff. Boo 😛 I squirted some lemon on the brussels sprouts just to give them a little kick of flavor, and added dehydrated onion to the beef and sauce just to make my breath smell awful. This didn’t really taste like “beef” but it was decent enough for a protein; I think it would have been a lot better if I were using a real sauce I was into but alas that was just tomato sauce from a can. But really–what can’t you do with a can of tomato sauce? I needed it this afternoon to make up a vegan meatloaf.

Vegan Meatloaf

I’ll admit I had little-to-no interest in cooking anything for dinner, and that my mind was on some juicy, red grass-fed beef from Tomasso’s. This was a far cry from red meat but I had mouths to feed and I figure what goes around comes around(so here’s crossing my fingers for that beef sometime soon :-)).

Orange Steaz Sparkling Green Tea

While I was cooking I was sipping on this flavor Steaz. It really needed a bit of a kick so I added some stevia to each tiny glass I poured. Things are just more fun when you pour them into other glasses; now why the hell didn’t I use a wine glass? Man, that would have been better in hindsight.

Since it was Friday, I decided to let my sweet-tooth run ramped. Instead of cookies, however, I was thinking of brownies. And instead of baking, I was thinking of keeping them raw 😀

Ingredients

After trying this brownie from The Raw Bakery, I wanted to try to make my own. To put a fun spin on things, I used raspberry agave syrup. I loooove raspberry jam in brownies and this was essentially the same thing. And it was all organic! Except the dates, which we’ve already established were cheap and yummy 🙂

Raw Vegan Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (160 grams) dates
  • 5 tablespoons (105 grams) agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds, ground

Make sure the flax seeds are ground. If they are not, add them to the food processor first and pulse a few times. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well blended, or about a minute. Scrape into a square container and refrigerate for 10 minutes or so until cutting into.

Raw Vegan Raspberry Brownies

I made one mistake here, which I tried to make clear in my directions not to do just in case anybody tries these: I mixed the flax seeds in with the other ingredients whole. As a consequence, the batter got really thick before they had a chance to break up. Oh well. If you like “crunchy” brownies then these would have been perfect for you 🙂 I didn’t mind a little extra chew. For my afternoon snack, I made a tray of brownie and goat milk yogurt.

Goat Milk Yogurt, Raw Vegan Brownie Clump

Raw Vegan Raspberry Brownie

They don’t really hold together very well, either, but there flavor is superb! Maybe the just need a chance to sit out so some of the water from the syrup comes off. No lie, though, this was some of the tastiest chocolate I’ve had; I think the raspberry worked perfect with the dates for a fruitiness to it all. And it complimented the creamy, slightly fatty goat milk yogurt well. There’s something about raw food where I can eat less and feel more energized and more satisfied, even if all that is is pudding and brownies. Dinner, however, was not raw; dinner was actually cooked by 4 and then just reheated for supper time.

Vegan Mealtoaf With Nutritional Yeast, Broccoli Fries With Vinegar Ketchup

I really need to get to Dedham Whole Foods again to buy a pound of nutritional yeast; sprinkle that on a led pipe and it’d be delicious, I tell ya. This was not juicy red meat. But it was pretty good. There’s about 4 servings left and as we all know this is MUCH better after a few days of sitting so I’m pretty excited for some leftover action 😀 And now… I could use coffee(and chocolate). Maybe that Steaz has caffeine in it? Because I feel like I’m dragging. That’s the beauty of a single-cup coffee maker, my friends. Happy cookie Friday night!

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Yellow Yolks

Posted on January 20, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I don’t want to think what I’ll do without a food processor when I go back to campus. It’s sooo amazing. For instance, it can turn fruit into ice cream… twice in one day!

Banana Soft Serve With Milk Chocolate

I had a second bowl of banana soft serve. This time I omitted cocoa powder and added some xanthan gum because the bananas weren’t fully frozen to begin with–delicious. I topped it with the milk chocolate that Kristie gave me. Holy yum was this good! I didn’t check but I bet they use butterfat in the ingredients because this was soooo rich and creamy and delicious. I think it rivals Divine’s milk chocolate; would it be ironic that one of my new favorite milk chocolates was given to me by a vegan? Thanks, Kristie!

I also like the food processor because it makes seeds into seed butter, such as it did yesterday with my pistachios, which I couldn’t wait(literally) to dive into.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Pistachio Butter

This bowl was saltier than the sea but it was sooo delicious, too. I forgot how much I liked pistachios; they’re just such a pain to deshell. I ended up watching Chopped, which is one Food Network show I don’t care for. Have you seen it? It’s just not my style. What I do like is trying to figure out what I’d make if I were one of the contestants. For instance, they had to make a dessert with tofu, cacao nibs, cherry tomatoes, and gingersnaps. If I were them, I would have made a gingersnap crust, filled it with chocolate tofu pudding, and garnished with whip cream, a candied cherry tomato, and cacao nibs. I don’ know how good that’d come out but it’d be worth a shot 🙂

When I woke up I was pumped for a strength and cardio session. I did my core of

  • 40 push-ups
  • 50 standing lunges, 50 walking lunges
  • 70 side crunches, both sides
  • 100 crunches
  • 70 crunch pose-hold
  • 240 arm rotaries
  • 5 sets of 7 chair swings
  • 40 squats
  • 70 standing marches
  • 70 rower arms
  • 40 second rower’s pose hold
  • 100 sit-ups
  • 70 tricep dips
  • 100 air bike kicks

Followed by the standard 200 flights. I knew my after-dinner snacks wouldn’t hold me over through all of that so all the while I was nibbling on this new bar I was sent to review:

Jay Robb Cashew Coconut Bar

As with all Jay Robb products, if it will make me look like that, I’ll eat it no matter what it tastes like. Thankfully, this cashew coconut bar was also delicious. It really tasted quite tropical with the coconut and sweet cashews. I couldn’t even notice the rice crisps, which I normally detest. And I love that it’s lightly sweetened with agave nectar and sugar alcohols; who wants a lot of sugar when they’re reaching for a protein bar? That’s what energy bars are for. This also has a good deal of NUTrition(cashew butter is the first ingredient), so for breakfast I went for some other fats.

So Delicious Soy Yogurt With Vanilla Bean Sugar

Oatmeal With 2 Cage-Free Organic Eggs

I had(what I thought) was a lightbulb moment: I separated the whites and yolks, cooked the oatmeal with the whites for 1 minute and then added the yolks fr the last 30 seconds. They came out so perfectly runny while the whites were completely set. That’s how I’ll be making eggy oats from now on. For the yogurt, I just took a plain So Delicious and added vanilla bean sugar from Whole Foods bulk bin; don’t you love looking at something and seeing vanilla beans? I definitely eat vanilla with my eyes first.

Today’s Tip: Eggs It seems like there’s a million different things to think about with eggs(then again, I overthink everything) and I was wondering: Where do you stand? Love it all? Just the whites, please? Or no eggs for you? For me, they’re a package deal. I think they’re a perfect protein balanced with fat when you eat the whole egg. And so much of the vitamins and nutrients are in the yolk that they’re hard to pass up. Of course, there’s the cholesterol that comes in the yolk, too(a healthy egg should have a bright yellow/orange yolk). But after reading the literature on egg cholesterol and cholesterol in general, I’ve came to the decision that it doesn’t matter to me. I do, however, keep a carton of egg whites on hand, just for those times when I want a protein boost or need the structure they provide in baking. If you want your baked good to be cakey, add 2-3 eggs. If you’re looking for something airy, omit the yolks and whip the whites. Or, on the contrary, if you want something a bit beefier like milk chocolate peanut butter chunkies, use just the yolk. Ideally, I’ll own my own hen coop some day. That way I’d know where my eggs come from, how the hens are treated, and not have to pay for eggs ever again. Clearly, not much plans to move to the big city here. So what are your thoughts on eggs?

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Why, Alton, Why?

Posted on January 19, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In case you haven’t heard, Alton Brown totally revamped his diet with some simple rules he follows that has him happier and healthier than ever. That’s great. Good for him. That’s not what gets me. What gets me is how he’s still giving me major pound cake cravings with his shows. Why, Alton, why? You know I don’t have a stash of pound cakes around. And you’re basically telling me a pound cake is one of the hardest things to bake. Don’t do this to me! OK, well after all that I didn’t have a pound cake. BUT I found something remarkably similar.

1/2 An "I Really Need A" Cookie

Maybe it’s not a pound, but these chocolate chip “I really need a” cookies have a full tablespoon of butter(along with plenty of other healthy things like that ;-)) in them. I wasn’t super hungry for a cookie, so I split one with my dad, and covered my half with a little more earth balance. For something that wasn’t a pound cake, this was super good and hit the spot. Take that, Alton. After a great episode of Unwrapped(which I’ll be rewatching today because I’m obsessed with Unwrapped), I made an equally great bowl of oatmeal.

Banana Oatmeal With NuttZo And 2 Goji Almond Oat Cookies

This wasn’t even like oatmeal; it was like warm banana pudding *drool*. I used the same amount of oatbran as usual but cut 1/3 the thick cut oats and added stevia(not a normal oatmeal ingredient) and that made it perfect. Then I topped it with two of the sweetest treats I could find: the last of my almond oat goji gourmet cookies and a dab of NuttZo. If I were more awake, I would have added vanilla to the oatmeal; thankfully, the sweet vanilla of the cookies saved the day–soo good! And then I went to bed a little early after listening to Jay Leno explain what’s been going on himself. All I can say is the NBC executives have really made a mess for themselves.

Backyard Snow

Ironically, today was the day I was thinking “Maybe it will warm up enough for a run”. Haha. Well Mother Nature had another plan, and I’m OK with waiting a little more. I was a little bit extra pumped to do my cardio this morning because last night I downloaded Say Hey and Tick Tock. Those are such pumping songs! I definitely gave Tick Tock and extra listen, even though 1/2 the time I feel too old to be listening to something like that and the other 1/2 too young.

Better Than Roasted Just 4 Nuts Butter

I really had no appetite for anything after stretching, other than trying out this new nut butterBlue Mountain Organics sent. Just 4 nuts? I think that includes me 😀 it has almonds, cashews, pecans, and walnuts, is raw, and has no salt added, so I was very curious how it would all come out.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Just 4 Nuts Butter

Plain Greek Yogurt With Gluten Free Chocolate Mint Brownie

When you can’t get yourself to want greek yogurt, throw a brownie into it. Unfortunately, I’m running out of said greek yogurt fast 😦 On the bright side, the nut butter was delicious! I wasn’t sure how it would come out, whether a muddled or sweet flavor. It was enjoyably sweet, with a nice nutty crunch to it. I think as someone who isn’t a raw purist it’s hard to be “satisfied” with raw and unsalted nut butters but this one was definitely flavorful and artisan.

It’s still snowing 3 hours later! I love it; it looks so nice and fluffy. Here’s a health tip for the day: Did you know organic, thick cut oats at the bulk bins at Whole Foods are just $1.49 a pound? For less than 15 cents, you can have a healthy and green breakfast. What kind of oatmeal do you eat?

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As Easy As Chocolate Making

Posted on January 18, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Welcome back to the week! Or, if you’re lucky enough, I hope you’re enjoying a long weekend. In case you missed it, here I posted embarrassing photos of myself and here was a great recap of at least 5 products and a restaurant Eastern Massachusetts should not miss!

Yesterday I tried my hand at something quite new and different(for me, at least).

Chocolate Ingredients

Crushed at having finished my last piece of NibMor original, I consulted Averie on how to make my own raw chocolate. It turns out I had everything I needed in my pantry! It only took 4 simple ingredients: cocoa powder, agave nectar, coconut oil, and vanilla powder(unpictured). In a small bowl, I whisked together 14 grams cocoa powder, 15 grams Artisana coconut oil, 21 grams agave nectar, and a pinch of vanilla powder. To my surprise, it all combined into a thick paste I was able to actually make into a bar.

Homemade Chocolate Bar

How fun! This was soft, so I threw it in the refrigerator to thicken while I finished off a pot of coffee(at 4pm. Aren’t I a class act? ;-)). While I was waiting for the chocolate to thicken, I thought I’d make some chocolate avocado pudding with our last avocado.

Moldy Avocado

That would be mold growing inside the avocado. How does that even happen? I didn’t question; I just tossed it in the trash. What a shame 😦 I didn’t think the chocolate would be quite a filling snack all its own but I broke off a square anyway to have.

Chunk Of Raw Chocolate

Sweet delicious this was good! It was just like a NibMor–dark but not bitter, with a sweet coconutty subtleness to it. It got soft really fast, so the last few bites were like putty. I ended up starting to read Cook This Not That as I was eating it. 2 chapters in and I can say this is a great book to buy; there’s plenty of tips and it does things like compare fats to other fats, meats to other meats, and dairy to other dairy. It’s very opinionated and offers a lot of reasoning which lets you accept the knowledge it has or question it–such a book for foodies. After 2 chapters, I started getting hungry again :-/ I was going to save the rest of my chocolate for my parents but…

The Rest Of The Raw Chocolate

…since they never knew it existed, they weren’t about to miss it, right? Really, this was so good I ended up eating the whole thing. I also did a lot of reading up on coconut oil(since I was chowing down on it) and how, even though it’s high in saturated fats, it’s definitely not a fat to be left out of our diets at all; I’m definitely considering picking up a big jar if anyone has any brand suggestions.

As my parents came home, stopping at a Market Basket(where I was sure to ask for avocadoes!), I wondered what  I had to throw together for dinner. I ended up steaming/roasting some brussels and roasting parsnips with parmesan cheese grated on top. we then pan-seared some mahi mahi they brought home in extra-virgin olive oil.

Mahi Mahi With Peach Salsa, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Sea Salt & Vinegar Pop Chips

I don’t know why but I didn’t particularly feel like the parsnips so I grabbed a back of sea salt & vinegar Pop Chips. They’ve been so hit or miss with me, and these were another “miss”. Honestly, I can’t say they didn’t taste like sea salt & vinegar: They did. But it wasn’t the same salt & vinegar I expect in chips. Then again, I grew up eating salt & vinegar chips that actually had no vinegar but plenty of artificial things that made one hell of a vinegar taste.

After dinner we ran out and back just in time for The Golden Globes. I thought Ricky Gervaise did a wonderful job hosting, and all of the presenters were funny. There weren’t any real controversial or “Oh my God!” moment but sometimes that’s a good thing. I had a few(or more) snacks while watching it.

Raspberry Agave Chocolate Avocado Pudding

With my new avocadoes I whipped up some pudding, this time adding 1/2 a tablespoon of Madhava’s raspberry agave syrup. It was really good and sweet, with a nice tone of raspberry I don’t think a jam could have recreated. I can’t really say why but after all these 15g of fats and 10g of fiber I was starving like I hadn’t even eaten dinner.

Sweet Potato Rounds With Salsa

I heated up sweet potato slices that had been in our fridge for longer than I’ll admit and added some really spicy salsa for flavor; these totally did the trick for a “unique” snack(though not too unique if you’re this blogger). Isn’t it weird when hunger just hits like that? And it was the kind of hunger that wanted real food(aka not chocolate). that did the trick until I wanted my ritual bowl of oatmeal.

Oatmeal/Oatbran With Smart Balance Peanut Butter

Funny thoughts while photographing this: “Darn it! I can’t get a good photo of this oatmeal through all the steam” followed by “Evan, you eat this every freaking night. You could just freakin’ reuse a photo if you need to”. I didn’t, but it’s comforting to think that my regularity is at least functional in that way 🙂 I think my favorite Golden Globe acceptance speech of the night was by Sandra Bullock when she thanked her husband and said it wasn’t until she met him that she knew what it meant for someone to truly have her back–such a sweet thought.

As much as I hate to admit it, I did not sleep well last night due to the most ridiculous “nightmare”. I dreamed that where I worked over the Summer was actually NBC’s studio for Conan O’Brien and that I was losing my job as Conan was going off the air. How was this a nightmare and had me tossing and turning? I had no clue, but I woke up like a bullet when my alarm went off and got an early start on working out. I did most of my core, but then decided I didn’t feel like doing push-ups and sit-ups. The solution? The count to ten cardio workout with 10 push-ups and 15 sit-ups per iteration. This was most definitely working up an appetite in me, but I decided to push through knowing I had this great breakfast in store:

Peanut Greek Yogurt With Tempeh bacon And Maple Syrup, Pumpkin Oatmeal With Mighty Maple And Tempeh Bacon

Yum! Oh how I love the combination of peanut butter, smoky, salty bacon, and sweet maple syrup. It feels good to just indulge in a little bit more when it’s all so healthy like this. For the yogurt, I mixed a plain Chobani with some full-fat voskos–oh how I love my full fat yogurt 😀 And all that was from 2 strips of tempeh bacon, which was all I had left from a pack I bought a loooong time ago. Thank God it wasn’t real meat or it would have gone bad by now.

On a different note, it snowed this morning! And a lot 😀 I hope it keeps on going.

Here’s a Simpsons giveaway(I know this show has plenty of fans)!

And here’s a giveaway for some Forze Bars!

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Feeling FRESH

Posted on January 17, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Product Review, Restaraunt Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Good morning afternoon! Actually, I “gave myself the morning off”, which doesn’t mean much when you don’t do much but has a great psychological boost behind it 😀 Have you done something little for yourself that’s made you feel 10 times better than you thought it would? Do tell, because I’m always looking for little things like that. When I make a lunch in the oven or anything more intensive than the microwave, that always has me feeling like a million bucks.

Vegan Meatloaf With Smokey Ketchup, Broccoli With Nutritional Yeast

This lunch yesterday was neither “fresh” or made in anything but the microwave, and yet still had me feeling like a million bucks. I decided to finish off the vegan meatloaf. My first thought was “Wow, this is really a lot. Maybe I should portion better.” followed by “Oh well, it’s all healthy foods so it’s OK to go a bit over on.” ended with “This is all healthy?! I need to make another one this week!” Clearly, we know what I’ll be doing at some point soon 😉 I topped it with ketchup and liquid smoke(love this combo) and some nutritional yeast; I think I need to get a pound of nutritional yeast next time I go to the Dedham Whole Foods and I’m not even exaggerating.

After lunch my mom went her way and my dad and I went ours and I feel like we went everywhere! First up was Job Lot, which always has fun finds. This time it was maple and blueberry flavored agave nectar, but I passed on any of those. Then I happened to stumble on an unbelievable sale at Price Chopper while waiting for my dad to pick out socks.

Lightlife Soy Beef And Buffalo Wings

Lightlife products were buy 1 get 1 free! I only bought 1 and got 1 and now I’m thinking I should have grabbed more but oh well. I’ve been wanting to try their Buffalo Wings forever so now was my opportunity! I’d never have paid $5 for them had I not gotten a log of soy beef for free–love that last part. I can’t wait to make beefy things with it(a burger? Ooo Summer’s been gone for too long).

After Price Chopper I pretended to be an educated individual and took us to Borders. I love the idea of book stores; there’s so much variety! Buuuut… I always end up looking at the same food books. Haha, one track mind much? And I ended up buying one!

Cook This Not That

I think the Eat This Not That series is one of my guilty pleasures, and I was able to get this for $14 with a coupon. This is my 3rd or 4th, and it’s all about recipes of restaurant favorites. Normally I don’t bother paying for cookbooks and just use the internet or my own head but I love ones like this that also have interesting and unique facts and articles. Did you know the pecan is the most antioxidant-full nut? Fascinating. I also looked at Michael Pollon’s new book about food rule, which looked awesome. It also looked like a lot of things that seem like “common sense” to me after reading In Defense Of Food, though, which I did not feel like paying $10 for. But words like “You can eat all the junk food you want so long as you make it yourself” is what people need to here!(and good news for me with all my peanut butter cups ;-))

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunky

Well, not a peanut butter cup, but still some wholesome junk food I packed for a snack instead of a granola bar. After that we ended up at Target followed by a trip to the eye doctors. Good news and bad news–I’m just as blind as I was a year and a half ago 🙂 I remember when I first got contacts and the employee had to sit with me for 30 minutes while I tried to figure out how to put a lens on my eyeball. I felt soooo bad taking forever, I just wanted to give up. Now I pop them in and yank them out like putty, haha. Oh how times change. And on the way home we dropped by Whole Foods where brussels sprouts were on sale! We didn’t have these at all this week, so I grabbed 3 pounds. Will that be enough? I doubt it.

Thai Peanut Primal Strip

We decided to be fun and funky and go out for dinner last night, mostly through my own persuasion 😉 Before we left I wasn’t really hungry but had this thai peanut Primal Strip I was sent to review so I wouldn’t get hungry waiting for dinner. I hate being hungry at restaurants; then you can hardly enjoy the delicious food! I liked this strip as a quick and portable protein source–definitely an upgrade to the sugary granola bar and held me over well. I really wanted somewhere I could eat vegetarian and not pasta, which is a rare breed around here. We ended up driving back to Framingham past the eye doctors to Big Fresh Cafe. I’d never been there before, but you can just look at their website to see how awesome they are and how tough it was to choose one thing from their amazing menu.

Teryaki Vegetables And Tofu Over Organic Brown Rice

I ended up going with the teryaki vegetables and tofu over organic brown rice. It was awesome! I think this might have been the first time I’ve had someone else prepare tofu for me–so good. What I loved most was how this was basically fast food, with no fuss ordering and quick cooking. You’d also never a place devoted to natural, fresh food was here; it’s next to a Papa Gino’s and across from a McDonalds and has the tiniest sign. But we’ll definitely be coming back again! This was what was left of my plate.

Leftovers

Don’t worry; we took it home in a container and I’m going to make fried rice one of these days for lunch. Why let some good organic brown rice go to waste? On the way home we stopped at Whole Foods again(I know; we live here) because my dad and I didn’t actually get any protein for dinners that my mom would eat. We left with a hunk of beef and enough chicken breasts to fill Playboy. When we got home, I was held over well by my meal, but inevitably reached for some chocolate.

Goat Milk Yogurt With Chocolate Raspberry Jam And Original NibMor

Don’t you hate finishing a really good bar? This was my last piece of NibMor original–so sad. Then again, I can’t really say I have a chocolate shortage. Even my jam has chocolate in it! Or at least this one did; it was a fun twist on the raspberry and goats milk combo. I didn’t think I’d be hungry for a bowl of oatmeal later on but I was, much to my pleasure.

Egg White Oatmeal With Chocolate Cherry Peanut Butter

I got to try out my egg whites I bought at Whole Foods; they add such great fluff to the oats! Now I get why bloggers love them. It’s a bit more expensive than just buying the eggs but I’d hate to waste yolks. In my dream-filled mind, the yolks to these were all used well in pudding and custards. Likely? Probably not, but I can hope. And I tried out the new chocolate cherry peanut butter I bought with X-mas money. A little low on the peanut flavor but I suppose there are mroe reasons to eat and like it than peanut.

This morning I very much just wanted a good, full workout. I started off with my core while watching some Sunday morning cartoons. What else is more motivating during push-ups than Cartoon Network? Beats me. When I got to the stair portion, I decided to give a new bar a try.

Chocolate Cherry Almond Luna Protein

I also picked the chocolate cherry almond luna protein up at Whole Foods, and unfortunately it just did not rock my socks 😦 I don’t know what it was about it that was so unappealing; it really did taste like chocolate cherry almond! But still did nothing for me. I ate half and gave half to my dad. So when I got to breakfast I was ready for something anything other than chocolate, cherry, or almond.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Nutritional Yeast And Smart Balance Peanut Butter

So Delicious Soy Yogurt With Vanilla Sugar

Organic Red Delicious Apple

Organic Red Delicious Apple

I just love the nutritional yeast and peanut butter combo! I’m going to need to buy a pound from Dedham Whole Foods before I go back to school in a week and a half. I mixed 1/2 a tablespoon in with the pumpkin and reserved 1/2 a tablespoon for topping along with a big glob of Smart Balance Peanut Butter–holy yum was this good! Alongside, I felt like a plain So Delicious soy yogurt agave sweetened and topped with vanilla bean sugar. This “held me over” but didn’t really “fill me up” so I reached for an organic red delicious apple at the end which did the trick.

I enjoyed my morning off with some SNL and web-browsing. How ugly will the Jay Leno and Conan thing get? Really, I just wish something would be resolved because they’re two great hosts and it’s sad to see all this bickering mar their good names. After my parents went to a birthday party, I whipped up a lunch for one, inspired by the cafe last night and all the FRESH foods I’ve been seeing.

Lightlife Buffalo Wings, Carrots And Broccoli With Cashew Almond Dressing

Where to begin? The wait on the buffalo wings–totally worth it! I just loved these; if I ever were to really go vegetarian(that’s a HUGE if right there), I’d be content with living off these. Hell-I don’t think I’ve had a real buffalo wing in sooo long and I’m still content with these. There was a creaminess about them that was unreal. For the veggies, I steamed them while whipping up 1 tablespoon cashews, 2 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and a squirt of lemon juice in the mini-processor. So sweet! It was really perfect with the vegetables in place of something bleu cheese which I don’t have. And then, to end my being veggie streak of almost 48 hours, I had… chocolate?!

Vosges' Bacon Milk Chocolate Bar

That’s right 🙂 I finally broke into this bar that I bought a while back with my Christmas money. I actually think I’ll be just nibbling on it throughout the afternoon while I do work around here because all those fresh veggies filled me up. Tonight we’re getting a storm! Hopefully, it will bring plenty of snow for the long weekend 🙂 I’ve thrown on a FRESH pot of coffee and now I must flip through my Cook This Not That book to find out what’s for dinner.

Contests

A giveaway for Theo Chocolate

Here’s a giveaway for a chocomize bar!

A Zola beverage giveaway(never tried these, but I will if I win)

And an Oogave beverage giveaway(also never tried)

And last(but certainly not least) an awesome vitamix giveaway!

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