Know Your Food

Oh, man…did everyone who hasn’t seen Food, Inc. yet get to catch it airing on PBS last night? I know I’m a little late on that train – I should have watched months ago – but I’m so glad I finally got to catch it. It. was. shocking. I’d been told “Jess, you probably shouldn’t watch that. you’re never going to eat again.” but I guess I wasn’t prepared for the footage of killing the poor baby chicks, and then inside the chicken houses. I’ll admit, after those Perdue scenes & the like, I had to zone out of it a little bit. Lets just say, I’m glad I’ve been slowly phasing out of meat, and now I’m not surprised that lately I’ve been feeling so full of energy and life – probably because I’m not putting sketchy meat in my system. I did miss the end because I was zonked – but I’d love to know everyone’s thoughts. Do you pay close attention to where your meat comes from after watching/before watching? What about other food like fruit, etc? I try to buy local and organic – but often it’s just not possible. Tell me somewhere in Vermont that harvests plums and bananas and I’ll buy…but chances are, you won’t be able to πŸ˜›

Luckily, my appetite wasn’t completely scarred from the education overload, and was able to enjoy some oats this morning. Delicious, all natural Bob’s Red Mill oats. And organic nuts and figs from the co-op. They probably traveled a long distance though. And a plum, but I’m pretty sure that was imported. And not organic. Peanut Butters been known to have some salmonella issues, too – but luckily, PB&Co is a little more sensible about their processing, I do believe.

Yeah, yeah – I said figs again. Had to wrap it up, you know. Third time’s a charm!

The base for this mornings figgy plum puddin’ (err…oats):

On zee top:

  • flax-chia icing
  • candied pecans
  • PB&Co Cinnamon Raisin PB
  • and a quick compote of diced plum and chopped fig, simmered in a drizzle of pure VT maple syrup and almond milk

And that wraps up my figgy affair. For now.

Enjoyed with some organic, fair trade Green Mountain. Of the Southern Pecan variety, of course! This bowl was very autumnal, don’t you think? A bit ironic since today is Earth Day (yeah, today – not Tuesday like I went about thinking.) and this bowl is far from colorful and celebratory – but it certainly tasted celebratory. And you know what I just remembered? I wanted to give cranberry fig oats a shot. This mornin’ I was just feelin’ the plum, though!

I now introduce Part One of an unknown number of my newest feature: Dirty Kitchen Habits I Have and am ashamed to share but am anyways:

  1. I totally double-dip. (If it’s my own food I bought.)
  2. I’m apt to just grab any utensil laying around and use it. “Looks clean. I guess.”
  3. I’m not very good about washing my produce. I think after last night I’ll be getting better.
  4. “Oh, it’s past date? Oh well…think it’s good” “Oh, it’s got some mold? Just cut it off.” (well…within reason)
  5. I have a cupboard full of bulk-section nuts and dried fruit and it’s a mess. A sanitary mess – but just really unorganized. Wanna see?
  6. Sort of unrelated: I have a nalgene bottle that I am terrible about remembering to wash – my mom finally steals it when she notices. I say “You stole my healthfully beneficial algae.” (okay,Β only sort-of.)
  7. I may say I’m afraid to bake for people because I bake untrad. things – but that’s only half of it. I’m also deathly afraid I’ll lose a strand of hair or something in the batter and people’s thoughts of me will be forever tainted.
  8. I am the messiest eater known to man. I’ve finally gotten better, though!

What’s a gross kitchen habit you have? We all have them , right? I hope?

I grabbed another Naked smoothie for class today – this was definitely a “what was I thinking?” purchase. Check out all that soy protein. I was wondering if I was slowly throwing my hormones out of whack all the while thinking about drinking this, but I made a mental note to just stick to a serving so as not to go into complete overload. I did love the other Naked smoothie I had – and this is the only line they add soy protein to, so I’m not bangin’ on the company – but I wouldn’t buy this line in particular again. Ah well! I purchased it a couple weeks ago, before I went on my soy rampage.

Another reason I wouldn’t buy it again? While it tasted great (loved the coconut and pineapple) it had a nasty gritty texture. Not sure if that’s common for bottled protein smoothies, but it was kinda gross and I didn’t drink much of it. As soon as you took a sip you’d want more to drink to rid the grittiness from your mouth, so after a viscious cycle of that, I put it out of sight and sipped on my water. No me gusta. (I should note that it’s best buy date was mid-May – so that wasn’t the issue.) Luckily, I’m always prepared and had a couple date balls packed with my lunch that I calmed my belly with after class.

Did I mention before I left I made more date balls? Guys, this is a habit I need to break. I messed around by adding some protein powder today. They’re yummy. But, they always are. The victims today? Cinnamon raisin, coconut-almond with vanilla protein powder, and cranberry-almond with vanilla protein powder. I took some pics of the process. might do a write-up?

Speaking of photos. Would anyone be interested in a post on food photography? I get the ocassional question about what I shoot with & such – but truth is, I don’t work magic – my lens and natural light does. I’d love to do some compare/contrast shots and throw out some tidbits, if anyone is interested! If not…well…I won’t bore you πŸ™‚ That being said – I haven’t been shooting a lot lately “in my free time,” and I need to get inspired to do so! I am so glad I have this blog, because it allows me a daily artistic release. Just gotta press that shutter button! I understand some of you probably really don’t care about the photography aspect – but for me, it’s equally split between a love for photography and a love for good food.

I wasn’t sure what I would do to kill time between class today, so I brown-bagged it (actually – Chico bagged it) with a sandwich that was a repeat of yesterday.

Curried carrot spread with tempeh and spinach and red peppah. Packed with some Dr. Kracker Pumpkin Seed flatbreads.

This was my first Dr. Kracker experience, and while I wanted to be floored at the amazingness, I don’t think this was the flavor for me 😦 A little too cheesy! I was expecting more pumpkin, and a little more salty, I guess. I’m not giving up, though – I think this was just my tastes, and I’d still love to try another flavor. It wasn’t so bad that I’m going to bum the box off on anybody, though. Anybody love Dr. Kracker and have a flavor suggestion for me? I’m open to ideas! (edit: on second “taste” – I had one with some cinnamon raisin PB once home, and enjoyed it quite a bit more than plain. Still excited to try other flavors, though.)

I ended up swinging by the barn and catching up with an old friend in between classes, which was quite nice. I love seeing how well everything is going for her, after having started riding with her wayyyy back before she even had her own barn. Now she’s got the most beautiful barn in the area, and is such a talented trainer and rider. Not only that, but she’s a hard worker, too. She has no problem doing her own dirty work and chores!

When I reported back for class, I found a note stuck to the door saying ther was no class. Great. Sometimes I wish teachers would think to e-mail…but on the same note, I’m glad she didn’t because otherwise I may not have stuck around to stop and see the barn girl. So, I just came home, played with the horses a bit, and got to work on an intense power point presentation due Sunday. I didn’t mention it yesterday – but I’m taking tomorrow off to work on it, too since I need to meet up with somebody. Why this was sprung on us last minute I do not know, but it is rather annoying. Hate when teachers think group presentations are a good idea. I mean really – we’re in college. It is incredibly difficult to find a time in which everyone can meet up.

I actually wasted way more time just trying to get a version of PowerPoint to work on my computer…apparently I’d only had the trial, so I messed around for eons trying to get it to work in one way shape or form. of course, snacking occured, in the form of continuing to play with protein powder!

I’m so glad Kelli sent me this Tera’s Whey protein powder to try – Thanks, Kelli!! I like what it did to the date balls (didn’t change the flavor much since I didn’t use a whole lot, but a little extra protein = a good thing!) and loved this protein cake. I saw what April does, and made up my own version:

  • 2 t. Tera’s Whey bourbon vanilla protein powder
  • 1 t. coconut flour
  • 1 t. fruit puree oil substitute (I went to use applesauce, but I think I fermented it. Whoops.)
  • 1 egg white

Nuked for about a minute? And it made this little bit of heaven. I enjoyed it with some Crofter’s Europe and cottage cheese. I love the vanilla taste of this powder. I’m a vanilla junkie πŸ™‚

Still being frustrated with the powerpoint issues by the time 4:00 rolled around, I opted to get an early start on dinner. Enter: eggplant-quinoa rollups. It’s like the burrito veggie form of a double down.


  • 1/2 of an eggplant, thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, chopped and seeded
  • 1/2 red pepper

Seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic – and sprayed with nonstick spray

At 425* for about 10-15 minutes on each side.

Stuff the eggplant with cooked quinoa with black beans – spoon a small portion in the center and roll.

And prepare the tomatoes and red pepper in some balsamic and fresh basil.

Serve and enjoy with some feta!

Yeah, afterwards i sort of asked myself why I went through the effort of Β trying to roll these up all cute and pretty when I could have just as easily chopped up some eggplant and thrown everything in the quinoa.

Oh, well. I realized I do that often. Am I weird, or does anybody else do that, too?

I’m still arguing with Microsoft. It’s making me beyond frustrated. I’m thisclose to losing it.

Long live APPLE.


Filed under breakfast, cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, oatmeal, recipe, Uncategorized

26 responses to “Know Your Food

  1. AHH i havent seen food inc!! im SOOOOO behind its so sad!!!! i need to watch it! great eats, as always lovely!

  2. Ha! I have gross kitchen habits too! definitely do most of those… especially the nalgene bottle one… mine literally smells bad… not good.

  3. Yes yes yes! Your food photography is gorgeous! I’d love to read a post on it πŸ™‚

    I really enjoyed Food Inc, although it was pretty disturbing. I felt pretty annoyed at Mansanto after that, but I also know there’s two sides to every story. I try to eat local and organic whenever possible, but you’re right, it’s hard!

  4. Mo

    Watched it, taped it, cried during it, admonished everyone I know to watch it…
    I’ve read a lot about what goes on in chicken farms, so I was pretty prepared for the killing of the birds. Watching them live was actually more painful than watching them die.
    I’ve been phasing out meat as well, both for health, ethical and monetary reasons. I’m okay with occasionally eating ethically-raised meat (the nice farmer, Joel Salatin, who was featured in the film operates his farm 3 hours away from me and I often travel in his direction, so maybe next time I’m down there I’ll check him out) but for now I rarely eat meat. It’s just not really all that necessary.
    I agree about the produce. Some foods should be bought locally when possible but it’s nearly impossible for some foods. I do think that when all else fails, getting veggies at the regular store is a hell of a lot better than not eating veggies at all. I was kind of worried that I would never want to eat anything again, but it turns out I already didn’t want to eat most of the stuff they were chastising!

    I wouldn’t feel too bad about eating things past their date. They’re usually WAY off. I’m also bad about washing my reusable water bottle, but I’ve at least been cleaning the top more and hoping that counts.
    My dirty kitchen habit… uhm… probably not cleaning the counters as often as I should. Granted I’m the *only* one who cleans the kitchen so with 3 people running through it every day it’s hard to catch up with all their spills and crumbs but still. πŸ˜›

    I’d be really interested in a post on food photography! πŸ™‚

  5. hey girl – sorry about food inc, but i’m glad that you have newfound conviction and are well-informed. i live about 30 minutes from a perdue factory, and i used to have to drive by it to get to a community college class.
    i almost cried every week because 1) it smelled SO disgusting and 2) the chickens were always screetching uncontrollably, and it kinda got my imagination going… bleh.
    anyways, your food looks like you CLEARLY aren’t suffering going meat-free. very nice!

    and don’t stress too much about the soy – you know i avoid it like the plague, but a little bit every once in a while isn’t going to hurt you. it’s only the REPEATED exposure that causes hormonal shifts… over a LOT of time. you’ll be ok πŸ™‚

    andddddddd i would love to hear what you have to say about food photography (because homegirl needs some help!).

  6. Food Inc was a HUGE eye opener. It grossed me out sooo much about the meat industry. It also freaked me out about the corn and how its everywhere!

    And your pictures are all so gorgeous!

  7. Nicole

    I would love to read a post from you about photography! I’m considering taking a photography class sometime soon, so I would love any advice, ideas, or tips. πŸ™‚

    I love that blogging gets me to whip out my camera on a regular basis. For some reason, taking pictures is so therapeutic for me.

  8. ok everything you ate today was fabulous!!! I made a delish mushroom ragu served over spaghetti squash with eggplant and zucchini.. I’m gonna post tomorrow some mini strawberry shortcakes [not the healthiest…nor do i like though] with some FAB finds I found today and recently. One of them is this mix of oats barley and rye! Also do a post on food photography i def need it ahaha.Ive been concocting some great fruit nut balls in my head experimenting tomorrow. I know those movies are so eye opening we watched a few michael pollan movies/videos in my culture and food class last year so interesting. I even did an art project on junkfood and kids. I just don’t know how people eat some of the food out there. I guess they take there heartackks to-go I’m happy you liked the protein powder!

  9. Ohhh I HATE group projects!!! The work is never equally divided and it seems like you always wind up with someone you do NOT want to work with. Such is life I guess though! And I hate it when teachers cancel class last minute. I mean, I love it but I hate it. It sucks getting ready for class and all when lo and class. But then it’s kind of exciting!
    I haven’t seen Food Inc. yet unfortunately. I’m not sure I want to.. well I do, but I don’t. you know?
    I’d love a post on photography!!!!! I was never interested in it before I started blogging but now I love it! I’m not very good but I’m all about learning more.
    Delicious meals, as usual!
    Love ya!

  10. You may have “gross” kitchen habits but you sure take great photos! I tried Dr Kracker (they are based in Dallas) and liked them but they really do a number on one’s teeth!
    Hey, I was expecting to be shocked! that was not gross enough!

  11. AHHH I am so bummed that I missed Food Inc.!! I totally would’ve taped it. Ugh…

    Your kitchen habits are seriously hilarious πŸ˜› “I’m apt to just grab any utensil laying around and use it. β€œLooks clean. I guess.” <—- that is SO me right there, haha. Buuuut I'm also a HUGE stickler when it comes to expiration dates. So while you might just cut the mold off of something and eat the rest, I'd probably throw away all of the food that was within a 2 foot radius of the mold!!

  12. I’d love to hear a post about food photography too! πŸ˜‰

  13. Yes, yes, yes…give me photography tips! I am sure I have some strange habits in the kitchen, but I am not sure what they are? You have to understand, I live with a 9 year old and an 11 1/2 year old boys and they are gross enough! I am kind of a germ freak in the kitchen. Oh and since my husband and I have food allergies (his more serious), I am seriously a cross contamination police!

    Aren’t figs so beautiful on the inside? Those oats are just so pretty!

  14. Jen

    I would absolutely love reading photography tips! My photos are in need of some serious work. So does my poor little point and shoot camera *sigh*. Also, that Naked protein smoothie really is just plain gritty and gross. I’ve even tried it more than once to confirm it. The pineapple coconut taste you get at first is quite pleasant but that texture is absolutely unbearable after about two sips. HOWEVERRRRRRRR, Odwalla makes a “Vanilla Al’Mondo Protein Smoothie” that is SOOOOOOO good and totally got me through my freshman year of college. Lol. It has 18 grams of soy protein (I know how you feel about soy, but this one is SO yummy) but it’s also made with oatmilk, which is so nifty. It tastes kind of like liquid banana bread because banana puree is a main ingredient, too! Shucks now I want one…

  15. I haven’t seen Food Inc. I’m a little nervous to, but know I should. And I’ll never get sick of commenting about how “I love you oats.” every single time you post. Maybe it is a morning thing but your gorgeous bowls always look so serene! I almost bought the cheddar crackers, but cheese flavors aren’t really my thing. Dont get me wrong, growing up I was HUGE on cheese itz and gold fish but they are way too salty and not what u always expect. Dont give up on the Kracker! I love the one I tried but there are so many others that I want to try now! Cherry Semolina anyone?

  16. mtobias

    Haha! I love your list! I’m the same as you for all of them except #4. If something’s even close to the expiration date, I have second thoughts about eating it. On a different note, why does hummus go bad so quickly? Great pictures!

  17. After Food Inc, I tried to be conscious of what meats I would purchase. Gah, I still bought Tyson brand chicken after that. Hard.

    But I am slowly phasing out of meat too, I haven’t had meat in 4-5 days and I feel pretty great!

  18. i’m so happy you jumped on the food inc. bandwagon. i believe that everyone is entitled to their opinions, but it is important to get ones facts straight and be informed in the first place. food inc. really opened my eyes to how we produce food in the US, even though the meat section didn’t effect me much since i was already vegan (speaking of which, you might enjoy Skinny Bitch, also. i just started it and it’s really eye-opening as to the abuse of animals in the factory system). what do you think about local versus organic? this has really been a question of mine lately.

    on a lighter note, do you have a recipe for the carrot spread you used in your sando? i love carrots so this sounds good already. not to mention your dinner looks stellar and veggie-filled. your creations never cease to amaze me.

    have a lovely day!

  19. I’ve never seen Food Inc but I REALLY want to – apparently it’s quite life changing!? I’m already pretty conscious of what I buy though – organic within reason (ie as long as it’s not stupid exspensive), free-range, as local as possible etc, fairtrade bananas, all the usual!
    I say yes to a food photography post too πŸ™‚
    And I love all your dirty kitchen habits – I share them all!! Especially the sell-by date one; they’re a load of crap anyway πŸ˜›

  20. Hi!!!!! Look at you you’re blog is doing so well and you’re pictures look even more amazing than before!!!

    I’m so sorry I’ve been out of touch and not blogging as much, but such is life in India!

    I definitely vote for the post about food photography! Did I mention I dropped my camera the other day and it broke 😦 worst day ever.

  21. I haven’t seen Food Inc. yet but I really want to! It’s funny because I’ve kind of been gravitating towards a more vegetarian diet lately too. I don’t think I could ever cut fish out of my life though haha.

    I’m definitely not a fan of group projects either. So time consuming!

  22. Um, yeah. While I already knew that conventional farming was “bad,” I had never heard of Monsanto and the way they intimidate their farmers. (The banner image on their website is kind of hilarious, given our new knowledge:

  23. my nasty kitchen habit is licking peanut butter off the spoon so i can stick it in the jam or vice versa…with any condiment. bc licking does a greattttt job of cleaning before redipping.

  24. All of your photos are gorgeous!

    And food inc. is such an amazing movie, i wish that everyone had the opportunity to see it. It is a life changing film for sure!

    Happy saturday!

  25. Interesting article, I agree with what you discuss here

  26. Katharina

    You should try Dr. Kracker apple crisps, hummus maximus, and the Klassic 3-seed!! Those are my favorites.

    Your dirty kitchen confessions made me smile πŸ˜€ I do a lot of that lol. I think it’s pointless to be anal about those things anyway hehehe.


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