Category Archives: healthy food

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

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

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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Recipe: Tropical Cupcake Parfaits

(aka…my birthday cake dessert of choice!)

So I’m finally getting around to posting this now. Hey, it’s only a week late – better late than never, right?

As I mentioned, I completely intended to follow Stella’s (The Witchy Kitchen’s) recipe for Mango & Coconut Cake. Not only did it sound and look delicious (as you may very well know – I’m a sucker for anything coconut, and I had recently discovered the deliciousness that is mango.) but it was already quite healthy! Considering it was my birthday I wasn’t so concerned about having a healthy cake, but I wouldn’t have complained.

As I continued looking the recipe over, I decided a banana would be good to add too – give it even more of a tropical twist! And then I realized, that often times – fruit purees can be used as a sub for oil. So I figured, hey, why not just omit the oil and sub the banana, anyways? And that’s what I did. And then, of course, I wanted to play even more and just turn them into fun cupcake-and-yogurt parfaits. Maybe not your traditional birthday dessert, but everyone loved them. And I got them to eat chia seeds.

For the Cupcakes:

original recipe here

Ingredients:

-1 1/4 c. white whole wheat flour

-3 T. stevia

-2 T. honey

-1 1/2 t. baking soda

-1/4 t. salt

-1/2 t. ginger

-1/4 t. chai spice blend

-1/2 mango, diced

-scant 3/4 c. almondmilk

-1 medium banana, mashed (should yield approx. 1/3 cup)

-1 1/2 t. vanilla extract

-coconut (to sprinkle on top)

Destructions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350*.

2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients, omitting the coconut. (note: you could add in coconut, as well – if my sister wasn’t “on the fence” about coconut, I would have.)

2. In another medium-sized bowl, whisk together your wet ingredients, omitting your diced mango.

3. Combine your wet and dry, and then fold in your diced mango.

4. Spray with non-stick spray 12 medium muffin cups and divide the batter evenly amongst them.

Sprinkle coconut on top (optional) and bake for approx 25-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from tins, and allow to cool on a cooling rack! And obviously, as always – taste-test one or two to make sure they’re…you know…cooked all the way. Right? Right.

Omitting the oil worked out fine – they were still perfectly moist and – well – dreamy! If I were to make these again today, I think I’d even add in some dried papaya that I’ve got hangin’ out in my cupboard, as well as some crystallized ginger. Because I’m that kinda gal.

You could, of course, stop there and just devour these as-is. In fact, that’s how most of them were eaten – but for my birthday dessert, I took them one step further and made up a lime chia-yogurt pudding and layered it with some fresh fruit to make a deliciously refreshing parfait.

For the Parfait Yogurt:

Ingredients:

1/2 c. plain greek yogurt

-1/4 c. almondmilk

-2 t. chia seeds

-1/4 t. vanilla extract

-1/4 t. chai spice blend

-1 T. honey

-zest of 1 lime

(I also think I used the juice of half of it? But I didn’t write that down. Take that for what it’s worth, haha.)

Destructions:

Just combine everything! Adjust the sweetness to your taste. Also – this will not give you enough yogurt to make all 12 muffins into parfaits. I got five – and could have used a little more since it was so dang good!

To Construct the Parfait:

Additional Ingredients:

sliced straberries

-sliced kiwis

-poppyseeds

-lime zest

-shredded coconut

Layer to your hearts content! I topped with a sprinkle of lime zest and poppyseeds (hey – I think it was a mind trick – they thought the chia seeds were poppyseeds! Honestly, though – chia seeds have such a fun texture, and are an easy way to sneak in some extra nutrition for those people who think you’re a health nut who lives on rabbit food. If you have them, definitely use them! No one needs to know. But tell them after they rave, aight?)

Enjoy!

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Why Not BOTH?

Good evening, lovelies! I hope everyone was able to enjoy their Saturday – maybe it’s only blustery and cold again in Vermont, and you’re all being graced with sunshine?

plum oats

Like I’d mentioned yesterday, I had to work today 😦 I shouldn’t complain, really – I’ve been pretty lucky that I haven’t been asked to work Saturdays since Christmas time! I love having a full two days in a row off. Otherwise, it messes with my whole schedule. Yes – I realize I don’t do much of anything important on the weekends anyways – but I enjoy “me time.” Two days of being able to do whatever I please always makes me ready for another week of craziness.

Luckily, however, Saturdays are generally always really laid back. This is both good and bad: good in that we tend to just generally be even more relaxed than we are already, and bad in that it’s really easy to get bored and antsy. At least this time of year, anyways. I almost view working on Saturdays as just “hanging out,” not workin’ to pay tha billss.

This means – I can show up whenever I want, too!

I typically never take advantage of this, but today I got a little caught up in going through photos before leaving, so I decided I’d just meander it around 9:30 versus the usual 9:00. I took my time preparing and savoring this never-fail oat combo of plum and coconut. Yum! These plums are the perfect ripeness. So juicy and sweet! And I decided to use half barley and half oat bran for the base – it was so “fluffy” – I loved it! Granted, I’ve done this combo before, but I love the rolled barley flakes. Have you tried them yet?

Classifieds

For the plum topping I sauteed some chopped plum, almonds, dates and shredded coconut in some almondmilk. And the co-stars were White Choco Coconut PB and Artisana Coconut Butter! I was torn between the two, and then realized; why not a lil’ bit-a both?! It was a good call.

My meandering continued as I leisurely prepared a lunch.

I figured since I had to get more almondmilk on the way home last night – why not replace my fermented hummus while I was there?! I prefer Garlic and Chive – but Tomato and Basil is another wise choice. Each time I go to the store I went to last night (which isn’t the one I usually go to) I am astounded by the ridiculous array of hummus. Both the amount of brands, and the amount of flavors! It’s gotten so crazy! I remember when the options were pretty much garlic, sundried tomato & basil, original, and roasted red pepper. Now there’s everything to please even the strangest of cravings!

What’s your favorite hummus flavor? What’s the weirdest you’ve had?

My sincerest apologies if you hate burnt eggs. It’s the only way I’ll eat them. I want golden, crispy edges! Though – in my defense, this one looks so strange because that’s parmesan cheese on top 😉

WW wrap with hummus, spinach, red pepper, roma tomatoes, fresh basil, and two fried egg whites – that were fried in red onion, fresh basil, sundried tomato, and parm. I couldn’t decide – sundried tomatoes or fresh roma tomatoes? And decided – hey – why not both?!

Kiwi or orange? Well – you see where that went. And of course, popchips. New obsession. Their bags are way too small, though. I can’t say for certain- but I think I’ve only got a couple servings worth left already! Not good. I hope I don’t have to write them a letter like I had to write Silk. (p.s. thanks everyone for your support in my dreams of becoming the Silk ad-campaign girl. Maybe we should all write them and encourage it. We’ll all be famous! …i kid.)

Trail mix or Z-Bar?

This was almost a “why not both?” moment – but I ended up not eating the last of the trail mix. I brought it in case I needed a little something extra – I wanted to clean my office after work, so Idon’t need to go into town tomorrow.

So – after enjoying a delicious lunch and snackage – I was on my own at work. Yep – I had to work today so that my bosses could attend their nieces birthday party – which involved leaving me all by my lonesome for the last hour we were open, and closing up shop. I won’t lie. I was nervous! The good thing about Saturdays, though? We close at 4, not 5:30. So luckily, I would be able to clean the office and get home not too late. I almost thought I was going to be stuck there until 5, though! Why do customers always choose to come in at the last possible minute? Oh, well. I actually still got out of there by 4:30 – I was worried for a little bit, though.

I dreamt of this all day.

I confess. I have this thing. This thing involves me dreaming up dinner ideas by the time noon rolls around. Anybody else share this thing with me? I hope so. It will make me feel a little more normal. *cough*I won’t admit that often the ideas start rolling after breakfast*cough*

Tonight’s thing? Balsamic-Mango Glazed Salmon.

Remember Balsamic-Honey Glazed Salmon, one of my favorite salmon recipes? Well, it’s such a delicious recipe, yet also easily adjustable – so I decided why not play with it to replace the honey with a mango puree mixture? Ohhh, okay, if you insist.

I also crusted it with poppyseeds. I can’t remember where I saw this a little bit ago and had to try it – I love poppyseeds, why not? Newsflash: I love poppyseeds, but I don’t need them lovin’ on my salmon. I scraped them off. It didn’t taste bad, I just got weirded out by the amount of poppyseeds. Ah well. At least the rest of the recipe was a success: the mango-balsamic mixture was divine! Not to mention, it went great with the sauteed kale.

To make the sauce, I simply pureed half a mango in the food processor with a spoonful of greek yogurt, zest of half a lime, a dash of crushed red pepper, and a dash of lemon pepper. Meanwhile, a salmon filet that had been sprinkled with smoked salt and pepper (and poppyseeds – but don’t do that!) was browning in a pan drizzled with evoo. I don’t think browning is the correct term, but hopefully you’re pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down.

lime or mango? Um, hello, both!

Once your mango puree is ready, combine it with 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar and 1 t. honey. I also added a half a packet of sun crystals. Just taste it as you go – if you like it  more lime & vinegar-y, you probably won’t need to add additional sweetness. You could also add a bit more honey in place of that, though. Or cut back on the vinegar – I had a lot of the sauce leftover. No complaints, though – I sauteed some red pepper and kale in it, which was, to put it simply fan-freaking-tastic.

Try this. But don’t try and coat your salmon in poppyseeds. Lesson noted. Is there anything you’ve tried that you thought you would adore, but ended up not caring for?

To prove that I do still love poppyseeds, however:

English muffin, or Kashi?

A lil’ bit-a both! The last cupcake, too 🙂 I haven’t bothered with my crazy cereal bowls lately because I’m sure you can only take seeing so much soggy Kashi concoctions. But this one was too good: mango, Kashi, cupcake, crystallized ginger, and chai spice blend. Yes, please.

Plans for the night? I still have so many photos to go through! I am hoping to make some lee-way tonight and tomorrow, though 🙂 Listening to the wind whip outside, in my nice cozy down-comforter clad bed. With a vanilla latter. ohhh, if you insist.  And, Hopefully, I will get that mango-coconut cupcake recipe up tomorrow!

I hope everyone has a great night 🙂 Laterr gaterrrs.

oh yeah – sweet dreams ! (hehe…sorry.  I couldn’t help but laugh the entire time I heard this. You know – the whole “I want to change this, but I just can’t.” scenario.)

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