Category Archives: all natural

Mmmm….Fermentation!

Holy Friday! Did it fly by for everyone else?

Not only was it 5:30 before I knew it – my day was filled with so much deliciousness that I don’t know how I got lucky enough to be so deserving! Do you think you can handle it?! (dahh, dahh…are you ready, for this jelly, i don’t think you’re readyyyyy)

Lets start with my beloved carrot-cake oats, shall we?

I’ve been having serious dilemmas as to what I want in my breakfasts lately. This week, I was chained to pumpkin. Well – my mom sneakily polished off my pumpkin yesterday, and I was at a loss as to what I was craving this morning.

What do I do when I don’t crave anything in particular?

Why, carrot cake oats, of course!

Because, lets face it - they've never served me wrong!

I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad bowl of carrot cake oats. I mean…how could you go wrong with eating carrot cake for breakfast? With frosting, even!! For some reason – the carrots I purchased most recently are, well – obscenely carrot-y. I don’t know why, but they’re just not as good for some reason! So I figure, if anything will make them amazing, it’s a bowl of oatmeal. And boyyy, was I right. Luckily, I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of this mix.

The base?

1 T. oat bran, 2 T. rolled spelt flakes, 2 T. Bob’s 5 Grain Hot Cereal, 1 T. wheat bran

-1/2 c. brewed coffee, 1/2 c. almondmilk

– 3/4 shredded carrot, 1/4 thinly sliced banana

vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, drizzle of agave

-1/2 T. chia seeds

The Toppings?

chia-acai icing, milled golden flax

-chopped mixed nuts, raisins

Artisana coconut butter, ginger jam

and a “compote,” if you will, of the remaining shredded carrot, another 1/4 of the chopped banana, golden raisins, and some shredded coconut – in a syrup of agave and almondmilk.

Served with a side of snow and wind.

And of course, Green Mountain Rain Forest Nut. I think my new flavor – but I’ve only got 1 K-Cup left!! In addition – some Yogi crisp crumbs of the cinnamon raisin variety graced the top of that upon consumption. It’s the bottom of the bag!! And it must have gotten smooshed. But – it makes for some rockin’ granola! I’m not complaining 🙂

As per usual - this bowl did not disappoint.

The weather, however - did. Very much so.

Sure – 18* isn’t cold. Especially for Vermont. 18* is, however – extremely frigid when it is windy as all get-out and all you’re doing is photographing your breakfast in your pajamas. The things I do for you guys…the things I do 😛 You bet I came right back in and had to microwave that baby.

Jusssst kidding. (p.s. did anyone pick up on my obsession with matte black platery?)

The day didn’t get warmer. In fact, on my walk to the post office and paint store – I suffered from some serious face freeze. I think I went all winter without face freeze – and now I get it, in March?! I was not impressed. I was impressed, however – with these babies.

Ohhh, Yogi. Have you ever failed? No one likes a perfectionist. But I guess I'll make an exception.

WARNING: Upon consumption, one may find themselves foaming at the mouths for just one more handful. And one more. And then another.

Not kidding. I was completely sold on the cinnamon raisin crisps, but figured why not try another kind? I’m a blueberry-head, so opted for Blueberry Flax. Um, hello, I apparently got pushed into a blueberry farm upon opening, that is how fresh and potent they were. And in a good way – absolutely no artificial smell or taste. They’ve seriously done it again. I give this bag even less time than cinnamon raisin. Not because they’re that much better (they’re both 10/10) but just because my addiction has grown that much stronger over the past couple of days! Thank you, Yogi. I deman: larger bags and more flavors. I propose a pumpkin cranberry flavor. Separate or combined, I’m not picky.

After snacking a couple handfuls, some finally made their way into a trail mix of sorts.

Hiding under the trail power? (which – in case you hadn’t notice – I completely forgot to put in this morning’s breakfast! I missed it…) Yogi crisps, dates, almonds, and Galaxy granola. Supahh stunahh trail power.

While we're on the topic of snacks...

Self-explanatory, I do believe.

If you dare try to replace Apple-Honey Butter, you best be phenom.

…and phenom it was, with the assistance of PB& Co Cinnamon Raisin peanut butter, tempeh, raisins, and sliced apple, in a supah-soft Joseph’s flax & oatbran pita.

The Fantastic Five.

I had a serious deliberation in the kitchen this morning, completely torn between another beloved PB&Tempeh pita, or my also-beloved hummus, veggie & egg wrap. You don’t even know how many times I changed my mind, but you see what I finally went with. And it was a dang good choice.

I think I often pass on this as a work lunch just because I don’t want to be given even more wierd looks. But today? Today, I was brave. Why, you ask?

...because tempeh wasn't the only form of fermentation in my lunch!

Hey, Jess…? What are you….eating?”

“Oh, the usual…just a whole lotta fermentation. Mmmm! Love me some fermented goods.”

That conversation didn’t take place. I was a little disappointed, actually. I was ready to boast about my eats today, rather than feel frustrated 🙂 But, not one to toot my own horn, I ate in silence. Probably because I was the only one around, though…and I don’t talk to myself. Out loud.

Told you I’d have to ration my Kombucha intake. Them babies pricey! And, I definitely toasted my pita at work. It was fanfweakingtastic.

And – I see I’m not the only one who was afraid to try Kombucha! I almost thought I was one of the final few to finally jump on the train. But – I definitely recommend giving it a shot. It’s really good! I can’t wait to try the other flavor I picked up. I will say, however – that if you don’t like tart cranberries, you probably won’t like the cranberry flavor. There’s no sugar or sugar substitute – just pure cranberry juice. I love the pucker, but I think that may be a turn-off for some.

I need more fiber like Kaia needs more McDonalds. Here's a hint: Kaia needs more salads.

Couldn’t resist this bar at the co-op. Haven’t seen the brand in grocery stores, and it sounded goooood – Banana Walnut, can you go wrong?

And obviously, some lovely ingreds.

Peep the goods. I had to exercise extreme self control during this time.

I wanted to let everyone see what it looked like, so I opened it at home. This was risky. The fact that it smelled like a whole room-full of fresh-baked banana bread pretty much made me want to devour the whole thing, but luckily, that’s what good, filling carrot cake oats are good for and I was full. It was close, though.

But what did I think of it? Holy yum. Gnu Foods, you sure as hay know what you’re doing. This tasted so so amazingly like a fresh baked banana bread, I was in awe. Not kidding. I also loved the crunch factor the flax seeds provided, and it had a lovely soft texture otherwise. Deliciously real tasting! I don’t consider myself lacking in the fiber department – but it did have more protein than my beloved Clif bars, and that’s never a bad thing.

But you know what is a bad thing? The fact that the co-op only has this flavor, and I can’t find them anywhere else. I want to cry. Guess I’ll have to pay an arm and a leg for shipping. The end. I mean: Check out all these amazing flavors. Must…have….them…all.

I seriously boogied at work today. And by that – I mean we were rockin’ and rollin’ and the day flew by. Great mood, too – the sun was shining and everyone was in love. heh…isn’t that precious. If only the sun actually provided warmth, I’d be so much happier. It’s supposed to get to 0 tonight. Not impressed. Luckily, a warmer weekend is in store! And with that in mind, I managed to do work and bop out of work early enough to whip through cleaning the office while I was in town. Now I don’t have to run in this weekend! Psych. Especially handy this weekend because tomorrow I’m going to a horse and tack auction with my mom for the majority of the day. I’m pretty excited 🙂 Abouutttt as excited as I was for dinner tonight…

Because I obviously didn't have enough fiber still.

Has anyone else noticed my tendency to have fish on Friday? I think that’s a Christian thing – right? Well, it’s purely coincidental. Maybe my creativity tends to run out, and I just love salmon so dang much that I want something familiar? Regardless – being the pair salmon with fruit junkie that I am, and having yet to pair salmon with cranberries, I knew what it was time for.

Or is it Kale, Broc, and Carrots with a side of Salmon?

For the cranberry glaze:

Microwave about 1/2 cup frozen cranberries in a bit of water until they begin to burst. Add in a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a good spoonful of maine maple dijon mustard and a drizzle of honey.

For the salmon:

Season with salt and pepper on both sides, and begin to saute in olive oil over medium heat. Once lightly cooked on both sides, pour the cranberry sauce over the fish and reduce heat, allowing the glaze to thicken.

Add in kale, broccoli, and carrot slices and continue to cook until done.

Top the veggies with some shredded almond cheese and garnish with chopped mixed nuts.

Please, don’t forget about the mixed nuts! Or you’ll regret it. Promise.

More breaking news? I am a new cottage-cheese addict. I eat it plain now – with just some jam and cinnamon. Oh, and obviously granola crisps, but I’ll put granola crisps on my…veggies. Okay, maybe not – but you get the picture. I am a changed soul.

You know what I’ve realized? I’ve rarely given a bad review. *cough*exceptGardein*cough*. I actually feel sort of bad about this. Like you won’t be able to take me seriously when I say something is oh so amazing – because “I love everything.” So – thought I’d throw out there – I will say when I don’t like something. I have nothing to gain (or lose) from giving my true opinion/feelings. On the other hand – obviously I don’t “review” everything. Mainly if it’s a new product to me, or something I’ve started eating that I am crazy about. Ordinary old snacks and what not just get a “yeah they’re good,” and I go about my daily blogging. I guess I don’t see a point in dwelling on stuff that I’m not either a. crazy about, b. totally hate, or c. is a widely-known product. Unless, of course – it’s widely known but new to me, in which case – it would make sense I say what I think 🙂

Capiche? Just thought I’d throw that out there 🙂

What’s everyone else got planned for the weekend?! Hopefully beautiful, sunny, warm weather is in your forecast. And, of course – good food 🙂

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Filed under all natural, almond milk, apple, breakfast, broccoli, chia seeds, co op, cooking, dinner, fish, food blog, health, health food, healthy eating, healthy living, lunch, nut butter, oatmeal, oats, organic, recipe, review, salmon, vegetable

Rude Awakening

Hey lovelies 🙂 I hope everyone’s had a supah flyyy Thursday – can you believe it’s almost Friday already? I think I say that every Thursday – but seriously, where is the time going these days?!

So, after reading all of your wonderful comments for my last post – it sounds like I’m not the only one who sometimes faces having to defend themselves and their food choices! Who wants to start a town of oat-loving, kombucha-drinking, green-monster slurping, sweet-tater-nomming foodies?! I’ll bring the party!!

And by party, I mean Pumpkin-Gingerbread Spelt Flakes.

This morning started out with a rather rude awakening: my mom took the day off (for, what – the first time in ever?! she works too hard) though of course still woke up early – which means, the glaring light from the kitchen found its’ way into my room, along with some radio. Does anyone else hate fluorescent lighting?! I’m the one who, even when it’s almost dark, prepares meals using the oven overhead light only. Especially in the morning – I rolled into the kitchen with a squinty-eyed grimace, while she bopped her head to the music.

What? Too bright?”

No, no…not at all. haha. Love her.

Regardless! I persuaded her to turn the lights off (it was daylight, for pete’s sake!) and did my thang.

Obviously, this is my thang.

Randomness was in store for this morning. I couldn’t think of what to pair with pumpkin! I was – sadly – all out of frozen cranberries.

The base this morning was

-oat bran, rolled spelt flakes, and wheat bran

-brewed coffee & almondmilk

-drizzle molasses, agave, ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves

-pumpkin, zest and juice of half an orange

-1/2 T. chia seeds

and topped with:

-pumpkin chia icing, milled golden flax

chopped mixed nuts

-ginger jam and PB&Co Cinnamon Raisin PB

and a compote of orange slices, orange juice & zest, dried cranberries, dried currants, and frozen cherries – in a almondmilk & agave “syrup.”

If you're skeptical - don't worry, I was too. But this just worked.

Gahhh – this was amazing. I wasn’t sure about the citrus, but it made the bowl. Yes, please. To drank? How about a Cinnamon Bun?

The morning consisted of mainly bummin’ around. There were still people finishing exams – so I was not about to go to class and sit and wait. I don’t think there was anything planned for afterwards, so it would have been pointless. I got some blog-reading done, and tried working on business cards – but ended up getting a domain for my photography site! Needed to happen. I made use of the morning!

A savory snack? Whaaa?

You’ve probably noticed that I’m farr more apt to chose a sweet snack versus savory. Sure – I love my veggies, but other than carrots, I don’t often choose to ust have some alone, raw, out of the blue. But, I think all my hummus and hardboiled egg talk with Christina made me absolutely need red peppers, hardboiled egg, and hummus by the time it was only 10:00 am! And I did it up – I won’t say I rationed that hummus, because that’d be called lying.

Eventually – however – I started getting antsy and bopped my way into town. I had to have a drop slip signed to officially drop intro to CJ, and after that I made pit-stops at the co-op, Hannafords, and BB&B.

Rut-Roh, Rorge.

Fueled by Ramen. Err - nectarines and apples, rather.

After trackinng down all the necessary officials at school, I was on my voyage. Yeah, hi, nectarines – you are delicious. Why haven’t you kicked out oranges yet?

I was quite well-behaved at the co-op. And I am officially a member! Sure, the benefits aren’t huge and what-not, but I figure: why not join?

One of my immediately-consumed new finds?

SO stoked to try!

And yet - so frightened.

I’ve seen these all over blogs, to rave and poor reviews. I can’t find them anywhere but the co-op, and had passed the last couple times, but this time I felt brave enough to tackle the Kombucha monster. What made me even more nervous? The closer inspection of the label, revealing trace alcohol from fermentation, and the noise when first opening the bottle. Add to that, the smell when you take a whiff. What. did. I. get. myself. into?

But! The verdict? Holy yum! It’s so weird, yet so good! I love the strangeness of it, haha. That, and – the tart cranberry taste of this one. I was caught off-guard at first by the carbonated fizziness (I rarely have carbonation) but after a few sips I was used to it, and quite enjoying my new love. However, unfortunately – this probably won’t be a new love or addiction at almost $4 a pop. I (riskily) bought two of these babies, and I think I’ll have to make sure I only have one serving at a time for optimum enjoyment! Oh, well.

Before I rampaged Hannies, I looked to some of my other loves for fuel:

Matches made in heaven.

and then did the dang thang. And not only that – I was quite well-behaved once again! A lot of stuff (produce!!) would be cheaper at Price Chopper, so I just held off. Luckily, I’m pretty well set until the weekend in that department. I just wanted to scope out the organic section, of course!

But: the real jackpot was at Bed, Bath and Beyond! gasp.

Don’t worry – you’ll get to see my finds throughout the course of the next couple of days! Peep the lunch goods, though:

What is this, the Thursday classic?!

I don’t know – I guess Thursdays just scream tempeh, PB, Apple butter, apple, and Raisin flatbread?! Seriously love this combo. I should have it more often – it just feels like it’s too good to be lunch, though! That and – I do like my veggie wraps 🙂

After all that, though – it was time to boogie my way back to school for our second photo critique.

I. Have. never been in a class where I am the only vocal one. I usually hardly ever speak up – but seriously, if I didn’t talk, we were going to be there all day. This photo class is killing me slowly. This photo class should be fun. Ugh. Eventually, we were released. I was given another rude awakening by having to walk to my car in the pouring rain. Where did that come from?! I guess mother nature thought it would provide a fitting mood for a miserable class.

Just a little peek!

After unloading Gertrude, I had a quick (and adorable) snack just to tide me an hour or so til dinner.

Babies!

Seriously falling in love with cottage cheese. No lies.

So – I heard a rumour that today is National Waffle Day! I;m not 100% certain this is true, but what does a waffler such as myself do when the words “national waffle day” are read?

Why, make sweet potato waffles, of course! And have breakfast for dinner. Another Thursday thing, apparently.

It's not burnt, it's well cooked.

Initially, I was legitimately upset that my waffle iron’s light never changed to green to signify my waffle was done – but as I ate, I realized: the best parts are the dark parts! It wasn’t really burnt or crispy at all – I think just because it was so moist, it burnt the top most layer.

Wait a minute - is that a new plate, too?

Truly spectacular. My sweet potato obsession is coming back with avengence. I’m not going to resist it – every time I finish a meal with a sweet potato, all I dream of is what to do with my next sweet potato. Okay, that might be a  lie, but saying that I’ve tossed around the idea of sweet potato oats is truth.

Basically, all I did was mash a sweet potato, add some spelt flour and an egg white, some almondmilk, some baking powder, and some seasonings (garam masala, salt) and voila! Actually – that’s not basically what I did…that is what I did.

Another new obsession that I can forsee? Garam masala. Yes, please.

Golden delicious!

I couldn’t make it through all the eggs, though…but apparently I can make some killer scrambled eggs? My mom finished them, and could not stop raving about how good they were, lol. I mean…I wasn’t even that impressed by them…and I didn’t do anything abnormal. They were just scrambled eggs! haha. Ah, well.

Moral of the story? Make sweet potato waffles and more eggs than you can handle. You’ll love life.

Dessert was more cottage-cheesey lovin, and I should disclose the fact that I’m seriously doin’ work on this bottle of Agave. It’s love. But – I want to know about you guys! Any new fun food finds, obsessions, hates, or experiments?

Here’s to Friday!

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Three-Sixty

Oh heyyyyyyy, there, babehluhvs! I’m back in full swing more than ever 🙂 No more bleh-ness allowed, but thanks for letting me get it out of my system! haha.

I felt fine other than my funky mood last night, and was a leetle worried when I woke up that today’s weather was going to impede my mood even more. While I love sleeping to the soothing sound of rain on the roof, doesn’t it make waking up so difficult?! If I didn’t have a midterm to fail successfully complete, I’m not so sure I would have rolled out of bed for my 9:30 class.

Pumpkin-Nanne Oats: Traditional, Simple, and Comforting - they fit the bill for a mellow morning!

Usually just the thought of breakfast motivates me out of bed – but this morning I was so cozy in my big puffy down comforter, my Mouse-man sleeping by my feet, the sounds of the pitter-patter rain drops, and the lack of daylight peaking through my window that I could hardly decide on how I wanted my oats! I just knew they had to utilize pumpkin.

I was infatuated with this color palette. Isn't it so warm and soothing?

Old Faithful also incorporated a new guest. Remember my giant Bob’s order weeks ago? Well I’ve been working with the Barley and the Spelt only – and now that I’m 3/4s of the way through those bags, I figured it’d be best to introduce a new cereal.

Bob's Red Mill 5 Grain Rolled Cereal + Flaxseed: rolled whole wheat, rye, oats, flaxseed, barley, and triticale.

Nothing too out of the ordinary, but being the graniac I am, I was excited to break into a new cereal.

The base for the morning was:

-equal parts oat bran and Bob’s 5 grain Rolled Hot Cereal, 1 T. wheat bran

almondmilk and brewed coffee

handful of trail power, approx. 1/2 T. chia seeds, golden raisins

pumpkin puree and half a sliced ripe banana

nutmeg, cinnamon, ground clove, and a light drizzle of maple syrup

Topped with:

-pumpkin chia icing (I forgot the acai powder)

-milled golden flax

-golden raisins, crystallized ginger, PB&Co Cinnamon Raisin PB

-a couple of Yogi Cinnamon Raisin granola crisps

-and a sauteed mixture of half a diced banana, spoonful of pumpkin, drizzle of maple syrup, and almondmilk.

And a side of Green Mountain Rain Forest Nut.

In case you couldn’t tell – I just couldn’t get over how cozy these warm tones made me feel!

I loved the new cereal combo! They got nice and fluffy and had a nice chewy texture. Much like regular oats, really – but better! Loving the 5 grams of protein, and that it’s got flaxseed. I love you, Bob…

Eventually, I got ready for class. This involved a drastic mood change, which involved doing the Ellen dance around my kitchen to Justin Timberlake’s new song. I am not a mainstream music fan but had Fuse on to get into the groove. Why did JT all of a sudden make me feel overjoyed enough to do the Ellen dance while Kaia watched me, perplexed? I’m not sure, but I’m glad it happened. Everyone should do the Ellen dance around their kitchen every so often. I won’t say it should be to JT though, because that probably won’t happen again.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this helped me to pass my midterm any better, but it may have been the reason behind my ridiculously amazing (not to sound conceited or anything) chickpea patties. Although – I’m not so sure patties is the correct term, since I think they’re better without bread. I dunno.

After getting home – I made up a snack.

I thought I wanted cold. Yogi Crisps, mango, greek yog w/ agave & chai spice.

…but then I had a change of heart. I needed warm. Hmmm…

The remedy? Add some almond milk, some instant oats, and nuke 'er!

mmm….that’s moe’ bettah’.

I'm just a lagging Larry - slow to jump on the Agave train.

So, I realize Agave is widely known, yaddah yaddah. Well, I just bought it Saturday for my first time, and tried it today! I always have just used honey for sweetness, or maple syrup. I was too cheap to buy good maple syrup the other day, and have been meaning to try Agave anyways. I always thought it was way more similar to honey than it is. I love it! New addict.

You've all probably seen this before. Hey, I love product labels!

I did, however, take a while waffling between amber and light agave. Which do you use?! Is there a big difference?

After this, I of course set to work on my patties.

These patties were brainstormed last night, that’s how ready I was. If you want to know my thought process, I’ll tell you, because it’s funny how my mind works. Since you probably don’t care because I tend to ramble, I’m not offended and picture yums will continue soon!

These were supposed to be pumpkin-black bean burgers. That, however, got me thinking of the Cook’s Mission and what I was going to do. Hey – black bean apricot burgers? with pumpkin? Maybe? Hmmm. Or chickpea. I was pretty adamant about the pumpkin though, so you better believe I waffled all night and all through my midterm. I’m not joking. I probably failed my midterm because of apricots, pumpkins, and beans. What can I say? I should just be going to culinary school. Regardless – Chickpeas randomly came into play and amazingness ensued. But – how did they fair with a real taste tester, you ask?

I made sure my mom tried one as soon as she walked in the door! Luckily, she’s a willing tester, even though she’s far from a health foodie. She’s ms. “I hate the taste of whole grains and can eat all day without gaining a pound.” Love her. But – she does like chickpeas, and she did love these patties! Score. She couldn’t quite put her finger on the flavor that was in there, but after I told her it made sense and she went about enjoying it. If she didn’t like it – she would have given it to me. Won one over!

Even though it looks like that’s what I had for lunch, by the time I finished them it was only noon-thirty and after having eaten my fair share *la hem* taste testing the chickpea mixture prior to baking, I was not hungry, so I just ate the portions that got coated with the sauce. So really, by day just consisted of a bunch of really good snacks/small meals. Hey, maybe I’m not the picture of perfect eating lately, but oh well.

If these aren't the cutest things you've ever seen, I want to know what is.

what does one do when they’ve only got sandwich and bagel thins, wraps, pitas, and minature but delicious homamade english muffins and an egg sandwich is being called for?

Why, make mini egg mcmuffins, of course! Sure – these muffins were made more tiny than tiny. But you know what? I swear they taste better by the day. I think the nuttiness of Spelt gets moreso over time – I noticed the same thing with my spelt-crust calzone! Love. It. This is a new favorite snack as of late, though – so it’s almost like the miniature size was an unconcsious intentional mistake 🙂

Microwaved egg w/ garlic salt & peppah, almond cheese, hummus, and a toasted whole wheat-spelt muffin w/ some olivio. To die.

What's this - oat bowl number fifty, or fifty six?

I have a confession. Actually – based on this picture – I have a couple.

1. I am a Yogi granola crisps addict. These things are to die for. If you find them – get them. Or, if you’re concerned you’ll become addict, don’t. Instead, get every package in sight. Most likely because you will be addicted before you know it.

2. I tend to freeze baked goods and forget about them – even when they taste like a little piece of heaven. Whassat, a AB&J Bran muffin? uhhh, yeahsa. Hey – I do it intentionally…they make for good surprises! And, this tasted just like it did the day it was so lovingly baked.

3. I’ve also noticed an intense cinnamon-raisin craze over the course of today’s eats. What can I say?!

Dinnah-time.

Obviously, chickpea patties were on the menu for dinner. I couldn’t decide on how to serve them – on bread? No…plain. But with what?  And then I got the mail:

Dear Jess,

When have I ever failed you?

Love, Broccoli.

Broccoli. And I could saute it with some mango, and add in the flavors already incorporated into the patties & sauce. So – I did! Broc, mango, drizzle balsamic, lemon pepper, salt, garam masala, nutmeg, drizzle EVOO, drizzle honey mustard. Ooooh, this was good.

And dessert followed shortly after.

Pumpkin Yogurt - Galaxy Granola - Granola Crisps - Cottage Cheese - Agave - Raisins.

And obviously, there was cinnamon in there, too. The pumpkin yogurt was a stellar combo of pumpkin, yog, some chia seeds, almond milk, some acai powder, and agave, seasoned with cinn & nutmeg.

Oh, and honey apple buttah!

And that’s ’til now! Obviously, I didn’t have class tonight. It was quite nice to have a lazy day – I admit I was completely useless today, but when the weather is like this, it feels kinda nice! Do you like to enjoy a lazy day every so often, or do you feel “guilty” when you do? I used to feel guilty (and started getting really antsy by the time 3:30 rolled around! Luckily – it was nice neough to go outside and play with the ponies for a little while)

I’m also in the process of ordering more chia seeds but feel this could be quite dangerous. Should we place bets on how much I actually order compared to what I intend to order? Sometimes health food suppliers are just too much fun!

I hope everyone has a great night! Catch ya lataaa.

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Worse Comes to Worse, It’ll Catch Fire

extreme wedding cake challenge, anybody? haha. “The worse that could happen, is our cake catches fire.” Wellll, I guess that’s a good motto to live by. I’ll do that from now on.

Why not have pumpkin-nanner oats for breakfast? I mean – the worst  that could happen is it catches fire 🙂

Thas’ right – my P.Chop rendezvous last night involved the discovery of two cans of pumpkin puree! I still have those three cans in my cabinet from the used foods store – but have been hoarding them for fear of using them. Last night was meant to be: I wasn’t even looking for pumpkin, but it was like the pumpkin was looking for me…I don’t scour the lower-most shelves for products that I know are out of stock until october 2010, but there they were: two solitary cans of (Price Chopper brand) canned pumpkin puree. Oh, hello. They came home with me.

I was almost nice enough to just take one…but then decided otherwise 🙂

The base today consisted of:

-equal parts oat bran, rolled spelt flakes, and rolled barley flakes

-wheat bran

-drizzle maple syrup, ground cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg

-pumpkin puree, about 1/3 of a sliced ripe banana, and trail power

The toppings:

-chia/acai icing with some pumpkin stirred in

-milled golden flax

-golden raisins, crystallized ginger

-ginger preserves, cinnamon raisin PB

and bananas sauteed with some pumpkin, ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup in a bit of almondmilk.

The cawfee? Stayed traditional with some Green Mountain French Vanilla again.

Yum! Pumpkin was a nice change of pace from my usual fruity-tropical concoctions lately. I missed it! And yes – of course this means there will be an abundance of pumpkin over the next couple of days.

I think I slept the latest I’ve slept in a while this morning! I didn’t roll into the kitchen until almost 8. It was sort of nice, but at the same time I felt a little off-kilter! That and, I had plans to drive into town and clean the office, which is a 2-hour foray alone – so I was a little bummed to be getting a late start. I knew the weather was supposed to be overcast, so I wanted to get everything done and hope there was still sunshine to enjoy afterwards!

I bopped my way into town, willing the dreadfully dark clouds looming in the distance to turn around and head back the other way. I wanted to go for another run/walk when I got home, and would love even more to squeeze in another quick ride! I can’t say for certain it worked, but by the time I got home it actually looked like it was clearing up – but still chilly!!

I waffled between snacks before heading out, and finally decided…

english muffin with honey-apple butter, applesauce mess

…it’s been ages since my warm applesauce messes! Needed to happen. Applesauce, some better n’ pb, dates, and pretzel snaps. And don’t forget about the delish english muffin 😉

Side note: I totally got one stuck in our toaster when I decided to have one at 1 am. I got so frustrated – I was tipping it upside down, shaking it, you name it – but I got it stuck under the little holder thing! haha. only me. Eventually I left it for morning. My mom was curious as to the situation, lol.

But, moving on – I leashed up Kaia and bundled myself up (re: HAT!) and set out. I love having her company, and – she keeps me movin’! The girl walks. Which is good! She’s not bad when it comes to running, either – she used to pull me all over the road, having to stop and sniff every little thing. I actually wasn’t sure if she’d be this way, so I was thinking I’d be mostly walking today, but it actually worked out quite nice. I still did mostly walking due to the roads being really soft and muddy, but got some good stretches of jogging, too.

I didn’t think we’d been out for too long, but by the time we got back it was 12:00, and we had left at 11:15! We definitely enjoyed ourselves. I cannot get enough fresh air lately. Not surprising, even though it was pretty chilly out. Eventually, though – I tried to buckle down on my paper writing. I didn’t get too far before a snack deliberation was in order.

Salty?

These piqued my interest yesterday (because Price Chopper still doesn’t have popchips – grr!) and figured I’d give them a try. They were good – but I realized I didn’t want salty. I’m sort of a sweet-snacker.

And decided on old faithful: kashi, spoonful of cranberry instant oats, almondmilk, chia seeds, portion of a vita-top corn muffin, raisins. Mmmm – hit the spot! Now I was tided over just enough to pump out that paper before breaking for lunch – which, even though you know about, thought you wanted to see it again. Who doesn’t?!

hello, beautiful.

This beautiful wrap also brought about some beautiful sunshine. Whaa?! It was supposed to be raining! But – this chica won’t complain about excess sunshine, so I soaked it up, naturally. [horse warning! :P]

And played with Jiggy! I debated taking Mel for a quick ride – my mom was gone for the day – but decided I didn’t want to go out alone. It’s not as fun to me! No biggie, though – I was just as content brushing them and giving them some lovin’. (Since, isn’t it obvious they’re sooo neglected?)

I did, however, transform myself into a walking, talking hairy monster. Lesson: Never wear fleece around horses, especially in the springtime. Every single hair they are shedding, will cling to you.

ALL RAKED!

Okay, so this is only a small portion of the raking that took place – but you get the idea! Yucky spring, makes everything look so bland.

HOLD. THE. PHONE.

Being the nommer that I am, eventually it was time for another snack. Uhm, holy cow. Has anyone else had these Yogi Granola Crisps? I found them and jumped for joy last I was in Hannafords, but am just getting to try them. *DANGER*: consume one, and you may feel the urge to consume the whole bag.

What's not to like? Oh, that the bag's too small? Touche.

Seriously, though – these are amazing. Do the ingredients get any better than that?! And the flavor? The flavor!! Holy cow – I’m one heck of a cinnamon-raisin fan, and these do not disappoint. I was in crunchy-crispy cinamon-y raisin-y granola heaven! They are perfectly sweet – not too much so that the oat-y, whole grainy taste was disguised, which is one peeve I have with many other companies.I enjoyed a few right from the bag before catching myself before the granola affair started.

…and fixed a proper snack! Okay, more like small meal, but who’s keeping track? (uh, okay – obviously my camera is, but I digress.)

The last of my flax tempeh in a repeat lavash whoop-de-do from yesterday – though I laid off on the cinnamon raisin PB and used a little more Better N’ PB this time. Gotta watch myself somewhere. And I keep forgetting about that Better N’ PB. It’s actually not that bad – lately I’ve been melting it into my night time mini bowls of oats – but it’s certainly got nothing on a real nut butter.

And, of course – pumpkin-chia greek yogurt. Ohhh, this was a little bit of heaven in a bowl right here.

I tinkered around online a bit more before my Mom came home and we went for a long walk out back. I haven’t been back there lately (we have about 35 acres – and there’s a trail leading from the back of our house to the other side of the “mountain”) and she wanted to show me all the water. So fun! I should have brought my camera along – it brings you to a creepy-cool old marsh at one point.

When we got back, the ribs Henry was making were just about ready, so I hustled up to make my dinner. Naturally – I had a gameplan, so the decision wasn’t the hard part 🙂

This is the dinner I intended to make yesterday, but just wasn’t hungry enough. I wasn’t really tonight (granted, it was “dinner time” at 5:15) but I wanted some cranberry-orange polenta, dang it! So I did the durn thang.

Not only that, but – I tried cottage cheese, and I didn’t hate it. I wouldn’t call it love, but it could grow to be that way. AND! It doesn’t stop there – I know this polenta is a winner because my mom loved it, too! She liked polenta to begin with, but she said she was weary of the cranberries “and jazz.” I was too, mom – I was too. I mean, I was throwing everything in there. But, it all resolved itself into one beautifully delicious mess.

For the polenta, I brought to a boil 1 cup water and 1/2 cup almond milk, frozen cranberries and orange zest.

Once boiling, I slowly whisked in 1/2 c. cornmeal. Once it was smooth, you can switch over to a wooden spoon, and season with salt, black pepper, lemon pepper, rosemary, and a dash of cumin. I also ended up adding some dried cranberries since I didn’t have a whole lot of frozen cranberries (tear.) as well as juice of half of the orange.

Slice up three or so biigggg leaves of fresh basil, and stir in as well, in addition to approx. 1/3 c. plain cottage cheese. Keep stirring over low heat until most of the cottage cheese curd-things (ew…haha) are all gone.

Wine and dine! I was thinking of adding some chicken sausage, but lately I’ve just not been that into meat…I dunno. I’m still all about fish and seafood, as well as some turkey stuff I eat (turkey bacon, and those applegate farms turkey hot dogs are actually amazingly delicious and have been my Tuesday night lifesavers) but for some reason just haven’t felt the desire for the chicken and ground turkey I used to have a lot more of. Oh, well.

Not to self: buy the right cornmeal next time you’re in the store! The only thing holding this polenta back from being 100% spectacular? The fact that I had medium grind cornmeal. I’m not the brightest crayon in the box, I guess. For some reason, this didn’t phase my mom at all. It didn’t make me hate it by any  means, but it did make me think about what could have been.

Dessert for two? Oh, let me process that right up!

Crystallized ginger, have I told you lately that I love you?

Yep – got my mom hooked, too 🙂 I kept it simple so as not to overwhelm her – so I did the same as last night. Banana, mango, dollop of greek yog, some acai powder, chai spice blend, and a tiiiiny sprinkling of sun crystals. Naturally, I topped my portion with granola and crystallized ginger.

What’s one “health food” you’ve introduced to your family that they ended up loving? I love sneaking it in there! For instance – my mom and sister and Kale chips. I think that was the most fun, because my sister hates to admit when she’s wrong – but she was all about those kale chips after finally being persuaded to just give them a taste!

Have a great night, everyone! Back to the bump n’ grind tomorrow…

p.s. anyone else watch Hoarders? My mom’s remarks – “I watch this show to make me realize your whole grains, nut butter, and jam collection is really pretty normal after all.”

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The Irony

Hey again, pun’kins 🙂 I hope everyone had a beautiful day – we were graced with sunshine for most of the day, and warm temperatures for just about all of it, too! I definitely soaked it up considering the fact that snow may be in the forecast again for tomorrow night. Go figure, right?! Once I get the first taste of Spring!?

I had a mango just begging to be used today or tomorrow, and I figure – no time but the present, right?! Mango oats never disappoint, and since the weather was being predicted to match the tropics, why shouldn’t my breakfast, too?!

The Base for today consisted of

-equal parts oat bran, rolled spelt flakes, and rolled barley flakes

-wheat bran

-brewed coffee & almondmilk

trail power

a couple of thin slices of banana (I was freezing some for tonight’s dessert and figured – why not add a few slices?!) and approx. 1/4 of a diced mango

approx 1/2 Tbs. chia seeds

-chai spice blend, vanilla extract

The toppings:

-chia-acai icing & milled golden flax

-ginger preserves & coconut butter

-chopped macadamia nuts

and a fruit mixture of diced mango, sliced banana, shredded coconut, and dried papaya sauteed in some almondmilk and sprinkled with chai spice blend.

I’ve started adding in some chia seeds to the oat base lately, just for some added nutrition. Actually – I’ve really upped my chia seed intake lately, but a lot of it is in my evening snacks that you guys don’t really see much of.  It made a huge difference in the volume of this bowl. If you compare it to previous mornings with this bowl, I think you’d be able to tell just from the picture! I loved it. I still like the icing, though – it won’t be leaving 🙂

I savored this while pondering what to do with this glorious day – and since it was still pretty chilly out, wanted to wait until it warmed up to get outside. I had been thinking a run/walk was in order, but then started getting the itch to do some more photos at the junkyard down the road! I also wanted to squeeze in a quick ride, and godonlyknowswhatelse. So – I settled on a  walk to the junkyard, a ride, baking, and whatever else lends itself! I knew tomorrow is supposed to be yucky, so I definitely knew I would be leaving my cleaning and grocery trip into town for then. Not a chance was I spending today “working.”

Before my photo expedition, I knew some english muffin baking was in order. How perfect, right?! Make the dough while it’s still cold – let it rise while I do my photo thang.

I followed Nicole’s recipe with only minor changes based on what I had – I used almondmilk and olivio. We didn’t have any butter or  milk – but of course I had almondmilk! I hoped it would still work. I’m not a good yeast baker. I credit it to the fact that I always want to change things up and use whole wheat, spelt, buckwheat, etc. So I didn’t want to make any drastic changes, and hoped Nicole’s recipe would treat me well. I had faith! After placing the dough in the warm oven to do its thang, I put my face on, snacked on a plum & some almonds, and gathered my photo gear. I quickly decided that rather than walking all the way down to the junkyard – I’d drive to where I could park the Jeep safely and discreetly off the road, and walk the rest of the way. I didn’t want to bring just my camera and tripod, I wanted to bring my entire bag – which is quite heavy, even though that’s only half of all my equipment.

Uhm, let me just say – glad I did this. I’ve never been able to judge distances well, and even though I drive this road daily, I guess I kind of brushed off the fact that this junkyard “right down the road” is 2 miles down the road, and I still walked almost a mile from where I parked. I’m not sure if you’ve done it before, but when you’re carrying 20 pounds of awkward camera gear on one shoulder and a 5-pound tripod on the other shoulder, even a mile is long enough. Not to mention, it would have taken me all day long. Which – yes, it was gorgeous out, but that meant I did want to cram everything known to man inside of it! hehe.

I won’t bore you with the photos – I ended up being my own model. I had fun, though! The bummer about living in the boondocks is that no one wants to drive an hour to hang out. Oh well – sometimes it’s easier to be your own model. I knew what I was looking for!


Once I got back, I was thrilled
to see how much the dough had risen!! I’ve never had this fast and this big a rise from any bread I’ve baked before. Yes! I divvied it up into balls, placed on a baking sheet, and covered again. I ended up making twice as many muffins, too – it seemed like making 6 made 6 honkin’ big muffins, especially after they rose again.

My mom was outside raking leaves again, so I grabbed some quick fuel and went to help again.

mango, galaxy vanilla granola, greek yogurt, chai spice blend.

Loving this Galaxy Granola! I know it’s already been raved about on close to every health-food blog out there already, but thought I’d throw my two cents in, too 🙂 I started making my own since so many companies use oil and tons of sugar – well, Galaxy doesn’t! Perfect!

The downfall of a big lawn is raking. Holy heck, raking is tiring. I know, I know – I’m pathetic. But we have a big lawn! We finally finished, though – blistered, tired, and – dare I say it – hot! In Spring! In vermont!

By now it was almost 12:30 and I was about ready for lunch, but didn’t really want to eat that early. So I just nommed on some dried apricots, pitted dates, and almonds while finishing up the english muffins. I should note that I’ve been having a major dried fruit and almond grazing problem lately! I pretty much grab at least one every time I’m in the kitchen! So, of course it goes without saying that this also occured all during the baking process. Hey, at least it’s a little more normal than just grazing on carrots like I do when I make dinner. What can I say?! 😛 Shnoopsies.

Little Babies! Okay – so maybe I should have found a happy medium and made 10 or so rather than 15. They’re just babies! But, that’s okay – I mean, half the time I only have half of a normal sized english muffin anyway! I was just happy that these were easy, successful, and delicious! Even my mom liked them – and she’s the whole wheat hater. Although, it was comical that before anything else, both she and Henry – at seperate times – asked “Why are they so small?” Gee – thanks for the support guys. It’s because I’m a n00b. Hey – it doesn’t bother me any! I don’t mind not sharing 😛 Although – I think I will be. My mom said I had good nooks and crannies. Hear that, Thomas?! You may be the original nooks and crannies muffins but you’ve got some competition!

I, naturally, sampled the babiest of them all fresh out of the oven with some Olivio. Hey – everyone else makes a baby “tester” when they make stuff, right?! aha.

Delicious! Thank you SO much, Nicole! This was my first 100% successful yeast recipe. Cannot wait to try your Naan and other bread recipes, too 🙂 Cannot BELIEVE how easy this was. It was hardly any hands-on time, and requires only pantry staples.

But – after that – it was time for lunch! I uploaded my photos while pondering ideas, but decided on just an old faithful:

I had some creative ideas rolling around, but honestly – there were too many!! So I went for a yum-wrap supreme of tomato-basil hummus, red pepper, roma tomato, fresh basil, almond mozzarella, spinach, red onion, and a fried egg. Too good. Since these travel so well, I usually just have them once they’ve been heated, cooled, and reheated. So this was actually a treat, even if basic! I also polished off my popchips (and shed a tear – I was kind enough to share with my mom though, who is also a newly rabid fan) and an orange.

After this, it was the moment I’d been waiting all day for: I was gonna be crash dummy for my mom!! What?! Crash dummy?! You must be saying. Yep…I’m naive enough to volunteer my life to wrangle my mom’s wild beast of a youngster:

JIGGY! Short for "Jigalo". I'm not kidding. We didn't name him.

Yep – after the winter off, it’s time for the ol’ Jiggy to get back into work. Sometimes horses can be quite – uh, neurotic – after a workless winter, but I trust him 🙂 (The “wild beast” remark was mostly sarcasm. As my mom put it – “I trust him, I’m just getting old and don’t bounce well anymore.” Thanks, mom. Catch me if I fall?) I figured today was the day – it was mild and only slightly breezy. Though, strangely – by the time we got ready to ride (my mom was riding her old mare) it was getting quite overcast and very windy. Wahh!

Naturally, it went off without a hitch, and as you can see, I’m still alive to re-tell the tale. What you can’t see, however, is my broken wrist and black eye.

I kid, I kid. Really – he was fine and it was absolutely amazing to be sitting in a saddle on a live horse’s back again. This will be happening much more frequently 🙂

english muffin w/ honey-apple butter, greek yogs, kiwi

I honestly have no idea when I had time to eat the above snack considering I also had the below one, and we ate a late lunch…

Chia gel pudding, apple, and a PB & Honey-Apple butter with apple slices and tempeh churro-style flatbread sammie. Yes, Please.

But obviously, I fit it all in! Thank heavens, because – what you see above is the most miraculous snackage since…warm kashi. Oh yeah – I said it. Don’t worry, though – I’m stil all about my warm kashi bowls. But seriously loving this beaut. Pan-fried in some non-stick spray and sprinkled with some cinnamon and truvia – reminds me of a churro!! I think that’s what I mean…?

Naturally, after eating all these protein and fiber-packed snacks, I wasn’t too hungry for dinner at the early-normal time, but I decided last minute that I might as well go grocery shopping tonight. I could only see myself getting bored and antsy, since my mom & Henry were headed to an auction. Granted, I could have spent this time writing that paper, but…who do you think I am, here? Soooo – it was either dinner early, or dinner late. I opted for early. It’s more suitable for having night-time snacks, duhh!

So, I sauteed up 500 pounds of kale, plus or minus a few ounces.

Alright, so it doesn’t look like thaaat much here – but that’s a pretty deep bowl! I figured I might as well just polish off the last of my Kale, even though it was a bit, so that I wouldn’t have two bunches once I bought a new one.

Wellll, has anyone thought there wasn’t quite as much left of something as you initially suspected, and started using all of it, before realizing there’s way more than you thought – yet it’s too late to stop, because if you stopped – you’d be leaving hardly enough for a solid serving? [read that slowly.] That was a lot like what I did here. At least I love me some Kale, and it came in handy, because I was made to realize that those Gardein chik’n cutlets are godawful plain.

I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed something poorly – but I really don’t care for these. At all. They weren’t bad in the salad I made the other day, and since I still have two left – may just do that again so I don’t have to throw them out. But plain? They have the funkiest aftertaste and texture. No me gusta. Not a winner, in my book. Sorry, Gardein. I did want to try more of your products, but now I’m really not so sure.

This Kale, however, was absolutely amazing. Good thing, because after the second taste of that cutlet I abandoned ship on that one.

I started out by sauteeing red onion and red pepper in a drizzle of olive oil, and then added in a boatload of kale and fresh basil. Drizzled very lightly with some balsamic vinegar and seasoned with some salt and pepper and lemon pepper. Then added in some chopped apple and a couple spoonfuls of unsweetened applesauce and some raspberry-dijon mustard. Raided the cabinets some more and decided some raisins were in order, too! Oh, and, hey – only two carrots left, might as well polish those off to make room for the new bag! Cover and let wilt and voila. Delish! Garnish with some chopped nuts and some almond mozarella for supreme eats. Don’t garnish with a chik’n cutlet. Unless it’s a Quorn chik’n cutlet. ‘Cause they know what’s up. That’s what I get for cheating on them.

So – you’re probably wondering about the blog title by now. What’s so ironic? Uh, yeah – so, in my “might as well finish the Kale!” rendezvous – the thought never occured to me that P.Chop might not have any Kale. Yeah, just my luck – there was no Kale in sight. And in addition, they didn’t have the flax tempeh I wanted (so I just got Soy) and had really sub-par produce and selections all around. Ugh! I was so not-happy. It must have been stock night or whatever, because they were all over, shelves were bear, shelves were being re-stocked, worked were pushing big boxes everywhere, and there was an airplane load of 2-liter sodas in the front entryway. Lesson learned. Never think you’re being efficient by shopping on a Saturday night rather than Saturday or Sunday morning.

Guess I’ll have to go to Hannafords and the co-op this week after all.

The one good find? I totes got 2 big bunches of extra ripe bananas for $1.50. One person’s trash is the next person’s treasure – this was oat-lover’s heaven. And not just oat-lovers: banana soft-serve lovers! Which, I now am.

banana, mango, greek yog - processed. Topped w/ crystallized ginger & granola

Ohhhh, bananas…how do you do the things you do? You make oats perfect by sweetening and adding lovely volume, you blend into softserve like you’re magic, and to top it all off? You’re amazing plain, too! I should make an ode to bananas.

But, alas…I’ll leave you on that note, so you can dream about how amazing bananas are, too.

What’s YOUR favorite thing to do with bananas or english muffins?!

Oh, and cottage cheese. I’ve had this huge cottage-cheese…well, phobia…since I was little. It’s just totally grossed me out. But, I bought some today because I want to see if I like it now. I won’t lie. I’m a little afraid to try it, so I want to make sure I do it up right, and get the ultimate experience to see if it’s worth warming up to or not. Hey – I used to hate broccoli, and look at me now!

hehe, lame question, I know…but c’mon…what’s better?!

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In with the Old, In with the New

Hey loves! Did everyone enjoy their extra hour of sleep? …oh, wait…you mean, we lost sleep? Snap.

I know I, for one, felt quite out of place in the kitchen this morning, making breakfast at 8am! It was 7:45 when I woke up – normally, that would be 6:45, and I was almost lost. I mean 8:00 is when I’m already having a snack, most days! Even 6:45 is a late morning for me – but I was up late and was pretty beat, so for a weekend it wouldn’t have been that late.

Once I finally found my bearings, I decided on a bowl of mango-coconut-ginger oat bran & barley flakes. Waffles crossed my mind, but I didn’t think I wanted to take the time and effort, and didn’t want to miss my morning oats! I had two exciting new purchases, too!

That doesn't really say Dundee's preserves - it's definitely "Jess's" preserves.

While I – sadly – finished my much-loved jar of Strawberry-Pom jam in the wee hours of the night, at least it meant I could open up a new find! Sure, I’ve got blueberry cherry jam and plum jam in the fridge – but neither of those belonged in my mango oats. And I allow myself three open at once. No more, no less. Gotta have some guidelines for the obsession, you know.

Goji Berries - Mulberries - Goldenberries

My online order from iHerb for this amazing Navitas Naturals mix came just in the nick of time – my goji berries from the co-op got finished up yesterday! I’ll get to what I think of it in a bit.

Rainy Days

I woke up quite a few times during the night to hear torrential downpours and howling winds – and it was only slightly subdued by the time I ate.  I’m not a rain-hater per se – in fact, I find it calming and comforting when I’m at work or need a lazy day – but this was a gross rain, not a pleasant rain. Does that make sense? Luckily – Rain Forest Nut and a delicious bowl of oats & barley made it seem at least a lil’ sunnier.

Ginger preserves = bliss.

The usual sautee method was done with some of the mango – mango, almondmilk, coconut, as well as some dried papaya. Also did a sprinkling of crystallized ginger, and was quite liberal with the coconut butter. Some things are  necessary when you need a lil’ extra sunshine.

Can we just talk about ginger preserves for a second? Okay, listen carefully. Ginger preserves are – to put it simply – the best thing since fork-split english muffins. I am not joking you. The only thing I didn’t like was that the consistency was more jelly-like than jam or preserve-like. And it’s high in sugar, but – ginger can be kind of spicy so I’m just going to push past that minor detail.

And the Navitas Naturals berry mix? LOVE it. When I was ordering to replace, I was looking into mulberries and goldenberries, as well as my usual goji berries. I actually had an order from my favorite supplier – Live Superfoods – for each of these items, but cringed when I saw what the total would be. They aren’t overpriced – but since I had to buy a large amount of each, it added up. When I saw Nicole mention iHerb the other day, I checked out their selection and it was like my mind was already being read – a combination of everything! Score. I had a $5 off code (thanks Nicole!) and decided I might as well order!

The verdict on the mulberries and goldenberries? SOOO good. I love their tartness, and I think they taste much better than just goji berries. I “re-hydrate” them if you will, by adding them to the oat mixture and simmering everything. That was the only way I would enjoy goji berries, but the mulberries and goldenberries I’ll gladly eat by the handful! A heads-up, though: while iHerb has great service – fast shipping, wide selection, low shipping cost – they are not the cheapest supplier out there, at least not for this. Maybe for some of their other products, though. Alas, I had a $5 off code, and you do too: if you want $5 off your very first iHerb order, enter WEZ004. With the cheap shipping (I think it’s one of the lowest out there – but fast!) and the $5 off, they’re not too bad of a deal.

Phew! Moving on.

this is my "moving on." look.

hah, random. sorry. Anywho. Sundays are usually grocery days – mainly produce. But I did some hemming and hawing, and decided I really didn’t feel like going out. Sure, the grocery store is 5 minutes away and it’d be fine driving. But days like this, you just want to stay inside! So I finally decided I’d just run Tuesday – I have plenty of essentials, I’m really just a little low on produce. No biggie.

That said, today I did what I do best: Grazed! I think I re-instated my title of the grazing queen. I even enjoyed some fun new snacks!

This one isn't new. But it's always tasty. Kashi, trail power, sunflower seeds,almondmilk, honey apple butter, orange.

After breakfast I was reading through some blogs, and Marla’s recent post really struck me. She mentioned how she had loads to learn – which is both empowering and frustrating, and I couldn’t agree with this more. In addition, we talked about how ruts stink, but they can invite unique opportunities. Marla, I couldn’t have said it better myself. It is so true! And I wanted to share this with everyone reading, because I think we all need the constant reminder when we are feeling down on ourselves that something good always comes when you least expect it, and every situation we deal with is an opportunity to grown and evolve as a person. Lately – I’ve been having mixed emotions about my photography, and some comments that have been said that could be taken as backhanded compliments. I read Marla’s words and immediately remembered: do what makes you happy. Those who like it, will like it. Those who don’t, don’t. Don’t change what you like, just to make someone else content. It’s not worth it.

I’d also been worried I’ve been getting in another food rut. Are my eats getting boring and repetitive? I can’t tell – I feel like repetitive, yes. But, remember when I was that girl who had a panini wrap or bulgur stir-fry every night? My, my, look how I’ve grown 🙂 Anyways – I’m going back to my loose meal-planning ways in efforts to get some new meals up in hurr’!

And what better day than today, when I am home free with a full kitchen?! That’s what I thought.

Never had a starfruit before. It’s pretty. It tastes just okay. English muffins are always amazingly okay, however. I remember when I was a kid, I would always have my toast with butter and cinnamon-sugar. I thought of this last night, and enjoyed an olivio and cinnamon-stevia english muffin. It made another appearance today.

What’s a food from your childhood that you haven’t had in a while, or have recently “brought back”? And if you’ve never done this with your toast, you should try it 🙂

It had been far too long since my last sweet-potato panini wrap. This one had a fried egg with spinach, red pepper, and red onion, almond mozzarella, and sweet potato rounds seasoned with some salt, pepper, and curry powder. I also made a quickie poppyseed-yogurt-dijon dressing.

This was much better the last time I made one, but I was too lazy to find that recipe. I mean, I’ll put a fried egg on anything. Same goes for sweet potatoes. You can’t go wrong. But if you’re going to do this, do it this way.

So, the majority of my day consisted of cleaning, laundry, drinking coffee, eating, and photo editing. That is, essentially, all she wrote. It was kind of nice. But I still have more photos to go through. Oh well! Do you guys like the random integration of new photos I’ve taken, or could you do without? I mean, I have a photo website and flickr, so I have no problem omitting them from my foodie posts. But I’m not sure if you’d like to see what I’m up to on the photo front? Input is welcome 🙂

Grilled PB, J, & Tempeh Lavash with a side of Chia Gel.

Holy yum. I think when I grow up I need to be able to work from home so I can snack like this all day. A-la Susan, I decided to make a tempeh, peanut butter, and apple-honey butter grilled lavash sandwich. I nuked pb, apple butter, and the tempeh, mashed up, and spread. I also sprinkled cinnamon-stevia on the outside. New obsession? Maybe. Unfortunately, it’s a bit difficult to make at work, so maybe not :[

Although – why on earth have I been so late to jump on the chia gel bandwagon? I think maybe because I’ve seen mixed reviews of it. Well, I adore it. The consistency, the texture, the taste, the chill, oh my! I just combined it with almondmilk, trail power, vanilla extract, and a sprinkle of sun crystals. This was also dessert tonight. And may or may not make an appearance on tomorrow’s oats. If it lasts that long.

Hey, while I'm in the kitchen...why not some oatmeal?

I have these random instant oats packets laying about from when I was an oats n00b. Well, why not put some of a packet to use with some raisins, almondmilk, sunflower kernels, cinnamon, and kashi? Ohhh, if you insist.

cheesy noods.

It was St. Patty’s Dinner Night in the Healthy Exposures household! …if you’re wondering why this doesn’t look like cabbage and corned beef – it’s because I hate cabbage and corned beef. So – you guessed it – I was on my own.

Why not make a cheesy bechamel-alfredo noodle dish? Ohhh, if you insist. And kale. and carrots. and a cheesy creamy sauce made with enough garlic to keep away a thousand vampires, fresh basil, sundried tomatoes, almond mozarella, fresh parm, almondmilk, chives, and…? I think that’s about it. Okay, random throw-in spices, I’m sure. And some white bean flour to thicken. And lots of “yum!”s.

I really wished I had more veggies, but luckily had some carrots! And the kale was fine, so it all worked out. I wouldn’t have complained if I had some red pepper and/or plum tomatoes, though. I need to save the last of my red pepper for tomorrow’s lunch, though!

And some good-ol’ parm-garlic lavash. Fine Dining. Sort of.

And that about brings me up to date! How has everyone else’s Sundays gone? I didn’t mind my lazy day – but it’s still really gross out.

I’m a little bummed, too – I think I’m back to waking up in darkness! Hopefully not for too long, though? And I guess the light at night is worth it.

I was going to include some information about goji berries, mulberries, and goldenberries in this post, but – I think I’ve about talked your ears off already. Or – read your eyes out. Whatever floats your boat.

Goodnight everyone! Back to the bump-n-grind tomorrow…oh joy?

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I Have a Block of Tempeh. Now What?

First thing’s first: Thank you all SO so so SO much for the birthday wishes. They are all much appreciated. It was a great day! We have had absolutely gorgeous weather here lately, and yesterday was no exception. With weather that beautiful, it would have taken something tragic to make it into a bad day. Luckily, that wasn’t the case 🙂

The exam was, however, worse than I thought it was going to be :\ I’m usually a good essay writer, and am confident in my abilities as long as I am well educated on the subject – and, I felt I was. It turned out, however, that this exam would actually consist of two essays – and each were incredibly involved. As in – everything we’ve covered thus far, condensed into 90 minutes – though, more like 45 minutes for each essay. Basically, I could have gone home and easily written five pages. I had to pump it out in, oh, three-fourish mediocre pages?

Ah well. The stew and strawberry shortcake (!!) that was waiting for me at home made it all okay 🙂 Granted, it was mock strawberry shortcake – we used the cupcakes! – and I decided to make mine with almond milk & nuke it to get it soggy – after the candle blowing-out, of course.

Buttt, moving onto this morning? More banana-craziness. I guess Henry stopped eating so many bananas or something, I know I haven’t cut back…but all of a sudden it seemed like there were four super-duper ripe bananas to be used!

Gross to the average person - perfection to the food blogger.

That’s a plant – the one I used was way more ripe. I just snapped a daylight photo of tomorrow’s banana for an example of my case 🙂

Obviously, the strawberries are long-gone. Sooo, what did I chose to pair my nanner with this morning? Frozen morello cherries. I was so gosh durn excited when I finally found frozen cherries at the co-op the other day. I had been craving cherries like none other! And this morning was the first chance I’ve gotten to utilize them. Well actually, it’s not. But that’s besides the point.

The winning toppings for the morning was flax, chia-acai icing, dates, crystallized ginger, coconut, cacao bliss, and banana and cherries simmered in some almondmilk to perfection.

Loved the cherries. And the cacao bliss complimented it perfectly.

And in case anybody’s been wondering – why yes, it is still freezing cold in the mornings. And yes, I chose to go out in my pajama-clad self. And yes, I am grateful for a warm bowl of oats and coffee to warm me up from the ridiculousness of this.

It’s so crazy how fast the daylight has been changing. I’ve caught on to a noticeable difference morning and night over just the past three days. I love it! I think I even wake up earlier every day. I enjoy just being able to sit and relax after eating, taking my time making breakfast, cleaning up, and getting ready.

Are you someone who wakes up at the last minute and runs around trying to get ready, or do you leave yourself plenty of time to enjoy the morning peacefulness?

A Rumi’s & Jam english muffin and cup-o-French Vanilla green mountain later, I was groovin’ my way to work. My eats for the course of the day were pretty repetitive, but lunch didn’t disappoint.

I’m finally almost done with that never-ending bag of sesame rice crackers and wasa. Don’t get me wrong – I still quite like them. But I’ve had my eye on the everything pretzel crisps in my cupboard.

When I got home last night, I cooked up a gigantic head of broccoli for some burnt broccoli, with the intentions of having plenty leftover. Even though my mom ended up sneakily munching on quite a few crowns, I was successful in this mission. So I had a side for the rest of my ‘zone! I swear this calzone got better with age. I feel like the Spelt flavor of the crust was delightfully more noticeable. Loved it!

This was savored alonngside my boss, who savored a can of BM Beans. Which begs only one question, in my mind. What kind of mind do you have to have, to name your baked bean company B&M? The least you could do is settle on M&B.

And a Power Bar Pria French Vanilla Crisp bar. Not a huge fan of these bars, simply because I prefer the more organic granola bars – but they’re not bad. They’re like dessert, though! haha. Surprised they only have 9g of sugar. It’s good for when I’m actually craving something sweet, but want something with oomph. I do like that they are smaller than your average protein bar, but still have 5g of protein. I tend to stay away from your typical protein bar simply because they’re way too big for just a daytime bar when I’m not working out. So the smaller size of this is what caught my eye. That, and it was 49 cents. It could have tasted like cardboard and I couldn’t have rightfully complained. Luckily, it didn’t 🙂 After washing windows all afternoon – it was just what I was craving afterwards!

Washing windows, you ask? Okay – most people would be legit upset if they were asked by their employer if they wanted to wash windows. But you best believe I jumped at the chance! It was gorg out. I also took advantage of part of my break to take the long-route walk to the post office. Soaked up the sun!

I started out washing windows because we were pretty slow work-wise…but the afternoon absolutely exploded! There were customers left and right. I joked that it was because they could finally see in the windows 😛 So naturally, the afternoon flew by, and I was concocting dinner. This means that while driving home, there were many periods in which I zoned out and snapped back to after realizing I’d been listening to static for quite some time. Don’t worry – when I do this, I’m still really focused on driving. Promise.

AKA? My first tempeh experience. I have seen tempeh all over the blogosphere lately! I knew I had to give it a try, and picked some up at Hannafords. What better night to put it to use than tonight?! Granted – I had (and still don’t have) no idea what to do with it. Use it like I would tofu? Any way my heart desired, for it to pick up that flavor? I did a quick google of tempeh recipes simply to see what the common theme was, and finally just decided to saute it in a cranberry-orange & basil glaze that I’d been dreaming up for a little while now. I’m not sure if that’s weird or not. But I do know it tasted pretty dang good. Tempeh aficianados: Feel free to tell me if this is crazy.

The texture of the tempeh was strange to me at first – but by the time I was halfway through the meal, I had  no problem with it, and really started loving this. Definite make again! Next time, I’d use a bit more honey to reduce the tartness of the strawberries just a bit. Driver error. My bad.

Basically – I sauteed the tempeh in cranberries, orange-creme honey, juice of half an orange, some balsamic vin, and fresh basil. I also threw in some dried sage, smoked sea salt, cracked black pepper, and a dash of chili powder. I really liked the basil.

So – this leads me to my next question – what’s your favorite way to prepare tempeh? Since I have an inability to follow recipes I can’t guarantee I’ll try it – but I can guarantee it will trigger another idea in my crazy brain 🙂

I simply adore these honey cremes. They are so good – for everything! I love the Blackberry in my sugar cookie tea, and I bet this orange will be amazing in my moroccan orange spice tea. Tonight was my first time opening it, though – so I haven’t quite gotten to try it yet!

I’m almost out of Puffins, so I’m gradually growing re-accustomed to Kashi H2H. I figure it’s a good idea due to the fact that I have four boxes of Kashi in the cupboard after I found that stash at Big Lots. Ironically enough, my Kashi obsession ended before I even opened a single box. However – this bowl was to die. It involved a cupcake. it involved dried currants. And Nature Valley Nut Cluster crumbs. and Blueberry Cherry jam. Oh – and almondmilk & a microwave. The end.

Now, however, I’m back to my ANTM 90 minute premier. Not sure I’m digging this season yet. We’ll see.

Peace, lovelies. And don’t forget: tempeh! Or – what’s something you’ve seen a ton of lately that are soon to try? And when you do experiment with new food – do you follow a recipe, or wing it?

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