Category Archives: apple

Chutney Chickpeas (and TEDDIE!)

I finally got the chance to play with my favorite little furry four-legged today!

…just a shame Vermont can’t plow roads this winter. I could have made it there much faster? Even in this picture you can see where someone started swerving!

With all the fashion blogs out there today, I thought I’d join in on the trend. Here I am modeling my gloriously fab boots, snow-pant breeches and Carhartt knock-off.

This is why I’m hot.

Naturally, being so bundled up didn’t make for optimum riding gear. So why not just hop on bareback (er…blanket-back…) and go for a snow ride?

That was Teddie’s thought as he took great joy in making me get an additional workout trying to climb atop him.

He may be short, but damn, when you’re wearing bulky clothing, you’re sinking up to your butt in snow, and you have an excited pony walking in circles around you because he wants to visit with everyone, it’s a lot easier to say “hop on” than it is to actually hop on.

When I finally got halfway on he was at least patient enough to stand still while I made like a seal as I flopped the rest of myself up and over.

We had fun. Maybe we’ll just become snow riders for the rest of the winter. Or pick up skijoring.

And in case you thought I was too hot to handle before, it got even better when I put my helmet on:

I realize I look like dorkus maximus, but look at Ted!

daaaaaaaamn! Oughta have put a warning sign on this blog.

See all that snow on his bridle? He took great pride in trudging along with his nose buried in the snow while I thought he was going to roll on me. Luckily, the only time I had to bail was when I accidentally steered him into a drift that was up to his belly. It was probably deeper than that, but his belly kept him from sinking further, luckily.

Sorry, Ted.

Oh,yeah…anyways. About that food thing.

Truth be told, when it came to dinner tonight, I almost just sauteed up some spinach, garlic and barbecue sauce with barbecue tempeh and called it a night. And if I didn’t have to work tomorrow, I totally would have.

Sauteeing spinach in olive oil with garlic and BBQ sauce is way better than it sounds, fyi.

But, I kind of like making enough dinner the night before working to be able to pack an easy lunch to bring the next day. Sauteed spinach wasn’t going to cut it.

Especially sauteed in garlic. I can still smell my breath from having it for lunch, and that was 5 snacks and a dinner ago.

I might as well just dedicate this post to Rachael Ray, what with using her bench scrape, knife and recipe.

They were Christmas presents! (…but I still love Rachael Ray.)

I’ve made this “Chutney Chicken One Pot” and posted about it before – well, raved about it before – but just linked to the recipe with all of my swaps written separately.

Well, usually I don’t break my “link-back” rule, but since this is one of my favorite meals (I’ve gotta go there) and I’ve made some substitutions over the couple times I’ve made it, I’m just going to go ahead and post how I make it.

Chutney Chickpea One-Pot

serves 2 as a side, adapted from Rachael Ray’s Chutney Chicken One-Pot

This dish is easily customizable to your likes and dislikes. Check out my notes after the recipe! Not only that, but once you’ve got everything chopped it comes together in a handful of minutes! And I know I just talked about a fear of long ingredients lists – and this one is…but it’s SO easy and you’ve probably got it all on hand.

  • 2 t. olive oil
  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c. diced celery
  • 1/4 c. diced green or red peppers
  • 1/4 c. diced dried apricots
  • 2-3 dried Turkish figs, chopped
  • 1 c. chickpeas
  • 1/2 t. ground cumin
  • 1/8 t. curry powder
  • 1/2 t. allspice
  • 1/8 t. ground ginger
  • 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T. dijon or whole-grain mustard
  • 2 1/2 T. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 c. vegetable broth
  • 2-3 handfuls baby spinach

Heat the oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add in the apple, onion, celery and peppers. Saute until slightly soft. Add in the spices, dried fruit and chickpeas. Stir and then add in the broth, applesauce, vinegar and mustard. Reduce heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer about five minutes, until sauce thickens slightly. Add in the spinach, stir and cover. Remove from heat, leaving covered until spinach wilts.

Serve with some crusty bread or a grain!

Last time, I made it with tofu instead of chickpeas, and mixed in cooked bulgur instead of serving it with bread. There were other differences, but I also didn’t add the spinach. I much prefer it with spinach! I also think I preferred it with bread instead of a grain.

I love dishes that mix a sweet element with savory, and this one hits the nail on the head. Change it to your tastebuds, though. I chose to use applesauce instead of jam because I figured jam would be pushing the envelope on too sweet. You can also easily use a bit less dried fruit, and use what dried fruit you have on hand. I love apricots and figs, but raisins are good, too!

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Filed under apple, beans, bread, chickpeas, cooking, equestrian, food, healthy cooking, healthy living, horseback riding, pony, recipe, snow, teddie, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian, veggies, vermont

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

I had a lot of decisions to make today.

Now before you go getting all concerned, relax! Relax. Fortunately for me, the hardest decision I have on days like today is what I’m going to have for dinner. Before you laugh, that’s a pretty big decision. I mean, it can make or break your day! …or maybe I’m just a little dramatic.

In case you haven’t heard, it’s snowing all over the northeast.

I’m guessing you’ve heard.

My first decision I faced was whether I wanted to call in to work or not. I’m guessing you can figure out pretty quickly that I called in.

Which meant that I decided sauteed apples were in the forecast for breakfast this morning. I was awed when I saw that my beloved Gala apples were on sale at Hannaford’s. Unless they’re fresh picked from the farm down the road, they’re the only apples I truly enjoy. (okay, so I probably prefer them over the local McIntosh apples, but I fear that might be un-Vermontan of me to admit, so I won’t. We have maple laws for Pete’s sake, I wouldn’t put it past us to have an apple law, too)

My, oh my, how I’d forgotten how amazing sauteed apples are.

I polished off the last of my bread yesterday, and knew I had to make more today. The decision?

Do I keep it as the original inventor intended, or mix it up again?

I kept it as intended, and think this loaf is a bit prettier (re: less embarrassing) and so won’t withhold the name of the kind woman who shared her recipe with me this time – it was the lovely Sarena, of course! I don’t think there is anything she can’t do in the kitchen. And if you don’t want to see really delicious looking pancakes with a beautiful pour of maple syrup, definitely don’t go to her blog right now.

While that rose, I faced another decision: strength or cardio?

Cardio won.

But these things can only keep me entertained for so long. It was 9:00 and I was already looking for my next project.

Biscotti or granola bars?

Biscotti, says mother – who also had a snowday.

Orange chocolate chip or cranberry almond?

Orange chocolate chip. Best biscotti I’ve ever made all thanks to Veganomicon. No I can’t share the recipe and no I can’t find it either. Buy the book. The biscotti and the chickpea-quinoa pilaf are worth that $15.

…but do I want peanut butter, jelly or maple cream on my hot-from the oven bread?!

Maple cream.

But what kind of nut butter do I want smothered into my date?!

It doesn’t matter because I’ll have another one in five minutes.

If I have hot cocoa in my Easter mug, will it be Spring tomorrow?

probably not, but you can try.

I love this Dagoba hot cocoa!

Should I shovel multiple times so that I only shovel a couple inches at a time, or once so that I’m shoveling more than a foot – but only one time?

Uhhh, well, I banked on multiple times, but this so-called “storm of the century” fizzled out, and I didn’t need to shovel after the once.

As it is, though, the snowbank to the side of our front porch is taller than the front porch, and if I venture off the beaten path I am up to my waist in the fluffy powder.

I hope I can go to the barn tomorrow so I can ride Teddie in it! Hopefully he won’t be like my Corona pony and decide it’s more fun to roll in said snow than it is to play in it. I’m not worried about getting rolled on, I’m worried about my saddle getting saturated. I paid more for the saddle than I did for the pony.

Do I make buffalo tempeh or barbecue tempeh?

Both! Sorry, guys – but I think I’m getting tempeh burnout. I’m sort of bored with it. When this block is done, I need to bid goodbye for a couple weeks. Needless to say, I do adore buffalo tempeh! Especially with the last of my caesar dressing and red onion (I heart red onion + buffalo + caesar)

I think I struggle making the decision between sweet potato fries or whole-baked sweet potatoes more than I struggle with the decision about what to wear.

It takes me a while to figure out what to wear in the morning. It’s too early to think clear, so I just stare into my closet for at least five minutes as if it’s some other-worldly realm.

And in case you were wondering, a whole baked sweet potato won, but I didn’t get to use this picture yesterday and was pretty proud of how perfectly baked and cut those fries are. Not to toot my own horn or anything.

Dinner was a big decision today, but I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

I knew I should use the eggplant I had in the fridge, but nothing was particularly speaking to me.

Yes, when I flip through recipes certain ones call to me. I can plan “ooh I want to make that!” until I’m blue in the face but I can never decide what I want for dinner until 3:00 that day.

What did speak to me was Chickpea Piccata. (< Lucky for you guys, Isa has the recipe for this one on her website!)

But what to have it with?

Eggplant!

But how?

My new favorite way ever, of course!

I was flipping through my binder of recipes,and saw this very plain-jane recipe for roasting eggplant originally from Cooking Light. I was a bit apprehensive that it would be all that great – it is basically eggplant straight up, after all – but combined with the absolutely amazing piccata, this meal was enough to make me fall head over heels in love with…well, everything in site. It turned me into a hippie peace-love flower-girl.

For the eggplant, though:

Roasted Eggplant

slightly modified from cooking light, for one eggplant:

  • 1 medium eggplant, about 1 lb.
  • olive oil for brushing (I used basil oil)
  • pinch salt, pepper and herbs de provence

Preheat oven to 450*. Carefully slice your eggplant the “long way” into 1/4″ slices, leaving the end in-tact. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and fan out the eggplant. Brush with olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly tender. Remove from oven, press down to fan out more, and brush again with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs. Bake 15-20 minutes more or until tender and skin is beginning to crisp.

My mom: “are you going to eat that whole eggplant?”

Don’t mind if I do!

Decisions – do you find yourself sometimes having a terrible time deciding over the silliest of things, too?! Please say yes so I’m not alone. And don’t ask me who you should marry. I’ll just say “everyone! peace and love!”

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Filed under apple, baking, bread, breakfast, chickpeas, cookie, cooking, dates, dinner, eggplant, food, food blog, healthy living, lunch, nut butter, pancakes, recipe, snack, snow, sweet potato, tempeh, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian, veggies

Why Cry Over Spilt Milk When it can be Drank?

also known as…a succesful failure. A success dressed in failure playcloths? What am I talking about?! Okay – I’ll back up.

I am not a baker. Sure – I’ve had success with the recipes I’ve posted on here, but I won’t lie that I was pretty surprised these amazing muffins worked after the playing I did. Same goes for the rest of the baking you’ve seen from me. Fact of the matter is, I like to play with my food too much to be a really good baker. You know how I cook, right? A lil-o-this, a lil-o-that and pray to the cooking Gods, who happen to not hate me and cover my butt? Yeah – that dun’ always work for baking. But, this is getting pretty drawn out. And the moral of this novel is that, luckily, even a lot of my baking failures turn out to be fun little successes. Of course, an average person probably wouldn’t think so – but it works for me!

Take these bars, for instance.

These are the pretty ones.

I woke up this morning with baking on the brain. I needed to bake. I craved baking something. I was leaning toward granola bars. But I told myself; NO! I am far too captivated by granola bars in stores, and love them, too. Homemade could never fully satisfy my desires when I just want a granola bar. I want labels. I want Clif, or Gnu, or…something that says “New!” on it.

At the same time, I kind of just wanted cookies! Oatmeal cookies. A strange desire for me, but part of it was that I wanted to make something the ‘rentals would like, too. So I settled on these Apple-Walnut Oat Chewies from my trusty companion, Bob.

Because anything with a cup of dates has me sold.

It seemed like a tasty combination of both worlds, and pretty healthy to boot! I didn’t set out with the mission for a healthy treat necessarily, but apparently I’m always drawn to them anyways. Oh, well.

I pretty much followed the recipe to a T. I made slight modifications, but hardly worth calling “my own.”

Simmer 1 cup of dates in 1/2 cup coconut milk, and mash with a fork.

I chose to simmer the dates in coconut milk rather than water. Mainly because I thought it sounded better and am realizing I’m not such a fan of it after all – so any way to use it up faster and return to my almond milk addiction.

1 cup (pressed down) shredded apple

Mistake from impatience #1? Shredding the apple rather than grating. I know there’s a difference. Buuuutttt, the grater part was not working out for me. I would still be sitting there. It was just juicing the apple! So, I figured – what they hey? Shredded it is.

Combine dates, apple, oil (I used SunSweet Lighter Bake), and vanilla.

Before you start to wonder why I’m doing this whole post for a failed recipe, I should say that it’s not really a failed recipe. I just failed in the last step, really. But my results were still yummy, and now you know what not to do, should you chose to make these yourself (Because, I’ll say it again – they are pretty good!)

Add in your nuts...

…unless you’re like me, and don’t have chopped walnuts, and use roasted and salted mixed nuts that you have to chop yourself, and eventually get tired of that after 1/4 of a cup, and use trail mix with pepitas, dried fruits, choco chips, and other nuts for the other 1/4 cup. Actually – I quite liked the trail mix idea. Next time I think I’d do the full 1/2 cup with that.

In addition – I did not add the 1/4 tsp. sea salt since the nuts I used were salted.

Add 1 cup oat bran and 2 cups rolled regular oats.

You need a mixing bowl now, Jess.

Combine.

Somehow, I made it work without creating a mess. The baking Gods were trying to help me out.

In addition, I added cinnamon and nutmeg at this point. Not sure why the original recipe doesn’t call for any, because it should. Next time, I’d add more.

DON'T DO THIS!

Here is the second major mistake from impatience. Or, maybe my “granola bars!” mind was trying to take over my logical mind. I chose to make bar cookies. Riiiight. If I had a smaller dish, it may have worked, but probably not, since I still wouldn’t have grated my apples.

Instead, drop by tablespoonfuls on a cookie sheet and bake @ 350* for about 20-25 minutes.

I made quasi-granola-soft-squar-ish coookies instead:

The middle squares held their form pretty well, whereas the outer banks lost shape and just kind of crumbled. Hmm…what to do, what to do?

Oh, but of course!

So, you should probably just have them crumbled over some plain greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey. Mmmm!

But, they’re really good plain, too 🙂 I love their oat-y taste! Not too sweet – I would probably add a llittle bit of honey or agave next time. I also heated some up with a bit of milk, and it was like oatmeal in thirty seconds! Another thought? I bet you could spread it out on a pan and bake it more for some granola crunch! I ended up with mostly big chunks, but…I’ll probably keep crumbling them up, anyways 🙂

The moral of the story? Grate your apples, unless you’re impatient, like me. And like crumbling things in things.

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Filed under apple, breakfast, cooking, foodblog, health food, healthy living, oatmeal, oats, recipe

Oh, Just Making Up for Yesterday.

Heyyy loves. Is everyone having a super stellar Sunday? I hope so – because come tomorrow morning it’s a whole ‘nother week until you get to the weekend!

Blueberry-Plum Oats

I, for one, felt I had some making up to do from yesterday. Sure, it wasn’t a disaster by any means. But hey – any excuse to let my foodie mind go crazy, right? And why not start with a fine bowl of blueberry-plum oats, am i right or am i right?!

With frosting, of course.

In the base this morning was:

-oat bran, rolled spelt flakes, rolled barley flakes, and wheat bran

-brewed coffee & almond milk

splash of vanilla extract

trail power

-1/2 T. chia seeds

half of a diced plum, and a small handful of frozen blueberries

On the top:

-chia-acai icing, milled golden flax

-slivered almonds

-ginger preserves and Artisana coconut butter

-Yogi Blueberry-Flax Granola Crisps

and a compote of the rest of the plum, some blueberries, and shredded coconut – in agave and almond milk.

Though delicious, this bowl didn't summon spring, either. Shucks.

That’s right – Vermont had another cold, windy day. And I was hearing rumors of 50* and partly sunny! My mom and I were not pleased. I was looking forward to riding! So, instead we bummed around the house a bit – cleaning, chores, and I cleaned my saddle – a long overdue task.

While I was doing this, I realized – I used to be the same way with leather cleaner as I am now with nut butters, grains, and jams. I would buy them all and try them all. Ohhh, my life. I’m not sure which is a less expensive habit. I’m going for the foodie thing, because I also had a saddle obsession, and nut butters don’t cost upwards of a thousand dollars a pop. Thankfully.

Strawberries have made their way back into my lovely life.

Ah, yes – strawberries. Picked up yesterday, and almost gone. Except, after this amazing warm bowl of strawberries with some Kashi H2H, almond milk, and Cacao Bliss – I realized I need to ration myself in order to have a record-breaking bowl of oats tomorrow morning. I’m sure you see where my thought process was going. And yes, I did think of tomorrow’s oats that early in the day.

The other thing I thought of, was how often I have sweet snacks. It doesn’t bother me too much, since I’m not actually adding sugar (sure – agave and other forms of natural sugars when necessary) but there are still a lot of sugars from the fruit, cereal, etc. And then I realized well hey – there’s an almost empty hummus container calling for me and some almost forgotten about pretzel crisps doing the same. Hey, just making up for yesterday.

Can't have sweets all the time. This number a mere representation.

Done Work.

And it reminded me of how much I love hummus and pretzels. Not sure why I always opt for sweet. I think it’s still the whole warmth thing. Who wants warm hummus? That and I’ve always been a fruit junkie. What about you – what’s your view on sweet but not necessarily bad-for snacking? I should really try to be more open when I go to snack, I guess!

A short while later I went out and played with the ponies, and then went on a pretty long walk/hike with my mom and Kaia. It was the same trail we’ll take the horses on, except we took the short way back at the fork. Fun, fun – I love getting in quality time with my mom, like this weekend has been. Otherwise, I start to just feel like a room mate since our schedules during the week are so different. By the time I get home – she’s halfway asleep since she works at 5am. You can poke fun if you’d like.

Time to warm up! And...I could never be a real food blogger.

Afterwards, it called for some defrosting our chill with hot tea and muffins. I also call this “why I could never be a real food blogger.” What else am I supposed to do while the tea heats? Why, eat some of the muffin, of course. Naturally, only half made the photoshoot. In addition, I can’t tell you how many times my hand finds its way into the dried apricot or date baggies, and I almost said “I’ve grabbed so many nuts today, it’s ridiculous,” but I’ll just leave that out.

My bad – this blog is becoming more PG-13 by the minute.

But, I digress. Lets play a game, shall we? I’ll call it “Guess Which One is Mine.” Okay, lunch:

Exhibit A

Exhibit A features a cut-and-paste version of my sweet potato panini, with a hearty side of kale chips, seasoned with salt and lemon pepper.

Exhibit B

Exhibit B features the same dressing as the aforementioned panini, as well as the same sweet potatoes used. The similarity ends with the addition of cranberries, mas mozzarella, spinach, basil, and a drizzle of honey. Exhibit B was served with kale chips, as well as the last lone sweet potato round.

So, loves. Which was my lunch?

Grease truck = not my lunch.

DINGDINGDINGDING!!! You’re aaaa winner! You know me too well. That’s right – exhibit B. Who, then, praytell…was lucky enough to consume exhibit A?

Hint: The answer is the one with less fur.

Yesssss, siree. My lovely mother let me make her lunch. It received rave reviews. Call me crazy – but I love making healthy food for people and it being a total hit. I love making food in general, but when I cook for myself, I’m always curious what someone else would think of it. So I’m always offering to make stuff when I can. I used to all the time, but lately it’s been far too infrequent of a scenario 😦

But – I seriously loved the addition of cranberries to my wrap. Yes, I add cranberries and sweet potatoes to everything lately. Which is strange, because that’s such a traditional fall combination of foods. What can I say? Just making up for yesterday. I left out most of the veggies – red pepper & onion, tomato – and used extra mozzarella in addition to the spinach and basil that I would typically use. The sweet potatoes had curry powder, and the dressing was the same, too.

Killah. And to cleanse the palette?

Oh gosh, something sweet.

I guess this is what I mean by “sweet snacks.” See – this is just an apple. No agave, no honey, no sugar, just the natural sugars from the apple. Well, there’s PB & Co. Cinna Raisin PB, too – but you see what I’m saying. Does anyone let this bother them? I don’t but I’m wondering if I should.  Would love your thoughts 🙂 It is ironic – I love sweet stuff like this, obviously my granola crisps, oatmeal – but not cookies, cakes, and that sort of stuff? I should add – as I type I’m having a sweet dessert of banana “soft serve” with mangos  and topped with dried apricots and crystallized ginger. Hah! How’s that for following my word? Just making up for yesteryear.

I call this: Indecision.

To prove my point yet again. unsweetened natural applesauce with strawberries and chopped dates. Oh, and another one of those adorable mini egg mcmuffins. He’s my favorite guy.

My afternoon consisted of being a lazy bum by watching TLC and flipping through my recipe book and magazine to get my creative juices flowing. It’s no shock that I’ve been stuck in a sweet potato and cranberry curry rut lately. It’s just that good! But, I need to spread my wings and fly solo. Without sweet potatoes. Or cranberries. For a day. Maybe two, but probably no more than that. We’ll see how far I get.

I had a lovely cranberry and sweet potato free meal planned, until I became inspired by this recipe while flipping through my recipe binder. Because if I can’t have cranberries, I dang sure want some apricots. What can I say? And so – an idea was born and I began creating part of my dinner at 3:30 in the afternoon. Not because it was time-consuming and extensive. Because I was that excited and that bored of watching Forensic Files.

And so, I figured I would follow the recipe for the most part, taking shortcuts and using tempeh. Lets cook!

Le Glaze.

For the glaze I simmered approximately 1/4 c. water, heaping 1/2 Tbs. Apricot-Mango preserves, 2 chopped dried apricots, a cinnamon stick, sprinkle of cinnamon, and a couple peels of orange zest in a saucepan until it was thick. I shut it off at that point, and just let it sit covered on the stovetop while I bummed around and fed the horses. While it was simmering, though, I cubed up a serving of tempeh and placed it in a baggy with a drizzle of olive oil, scant 1/8 tsp. cinnamon & ginger, salt, and pepper and tossed it around to coat it. Placed it in the fridge to wait for it was time to cook.

When it was actually time to start making dinner, I sauteed minced garlic, red onion, and red pepper in a bit of olive oil and water until slightly tender. Then I added in the tempeh and seasoned with some dried parsley and cilantro. I also added in a bit of the apricot-mango jam at this point, too. Once it was pretty well cooked, I added in a big ol’ bundle of kale and covered. Cook until done – and meanwhile, prepare a serving of bulgur and re-heat the apricot glaze. You’re likely to need to add some more water since it will have thickened considerably.

Garnish with some chopped nuts! And don’t let these photos fool you. It is best mixed all together, not separately.

I know that’s pretty wordy, but honestly – simple and it turned out fan-freaking-tastic. I made the mistake of adding some garam masala to the bulgur, and I think if I chose to just add a bit of cinnamon it would have been seriously killer. The Garam Masala by no means ruined it, especially since I hardly added any. It may have been  more of the smell of it that threw me off, haha. I don’t really know what works and what doesn’t for this type of cuisine. Experimenting is the only way I’ll find out!

In addition – it gets way better if you let it sit a bit. I should have just combined the bulgur, glaze, and tempeh & veggies in one pan and allowed to just hang out over super-low heat. I only realized this because I got halfway through and was so full I had to just wait like, twenty minutes before finishing, haha. Ah well.

Yum. My wings have spread. I have seriously made up for yesterday, and the night is still young. Except, now all you’ll see is apricots in my meals. Hmm…my other obsession lately, I’ve noticed? Topping all my meals with chopped nuts.

I. Am. A. Lost. Cause.

What are some phases you’ve gone through? I find it so humorous to look back at them all…I’ll have to do a post dedicated to honeymoon stages of yesteryear 🙂

I hope everyone has a bangin’ night, but anyone who has beautiful weather, please send it my way! Oh, and mini giveaway in yesterday’s post remember. Nothing exciting.

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Also: I’ve received lots of comments inquiring about chia seeds lately, and while I won’t get too geeky, here’s a little bit of information for anyone who is interested, from this site.

-Chia seed is a complete source of dietary protein, providing all the essential amino acids. Compared to other seeds and grains, chia seed provides the highest source of protein.

-A daily dose of chia seed provides an excellent fiber source and most people notice a different in less than a week.

-Chia contains the usual Vitamin C, ferulates and Vitamin E but the real secret is the Cinnamic acids that guard the omega-3 oils from oxidation, which makes it a stable product for years.

-The gel-forming property of chia seed tends to slow digestion and sustain balanced blood sugar levels, which can be helpful in preventing or controlling diabetes.

-Chia seeds contain greater alpha-linolenic acid concentrations than any other seed or grain. This substance lowers the risk of heart disease, blurred vision, and numbness.

-Chia seed contains large amounts of B vitamins and calcium. By volume, one ounce of chia contains two percent B-2 (riboflavin), 13 percent niacin, and 29 percent thiamin, and trace amounts of all B vitamins. In roughly two ounces of chia (100 grams), there are 600 milligrams of calcium, contrasted with 120 milligrams of calcium in the same amount of milk. That’s five times as much calcium than milk! ***(I actually just found this out – uhm, Awesome!)

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Wasn’t that fun? Of course you should do your own fun research, but maybe this will field some of the questions that have been trickling in 🙂 Granted – take this for what you will, this time next year it will probably be said to be bad for our health. Tupperware containers used to be perfectly healthy. So did agave. And Nalgene bottles. And kombucha.

(this site has some interesting facts of sugar substitutes, while we’re on the topic!! Some interesting info.)

When it comes to myths around food, do you tend to buy in to everything, or weed through them? What’s the craziest one you’ve heard? Sure – I agree you can’t much argue with science. But, at the same time – I feel like some studies highlight the most extreme, unlikely of scenarios, and then blow the results up to be common or incredibly severe, affecting anyone who uses a product. I try to research everything before buying into everything – but it can be easy to get caught up in it all!

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Filed under almond milk, apple, blueberries, breakfast, bulgur, cooking, dinner, food blog, foodblog, health, health food, healthy eating, healthy food, healthy living, lunch, oatmeal, organic, recipe, Uncategorized

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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Filed under all natural, almond butter, almond milk, apple, breakfast, chia seeds, co op, cooking, dinner, food, food blog, foodblog, gingerbread, greek yogurt, health, health food, healthy cooking, healthy eating, healthy food, healthy living, kashi, lunch, nut butter, oatmeal, oats, organic, pumpkin, quesedilla, recipe, sweet potato, sweet potatoes

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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