Tag Archives: fruit

I’m Blue (Daba de Daba Di)

It wasn’t a conscious decision on my part…but the theme of the day was blue.

It started with moldy blueberry pancakes…

…packing a blueberry muffin Larabar…

…and then realized my blueberry-filled morning matched my blue hoodie…

…and by the end of the day, I felt like my hands, lips and toes were blue, too!

…Luckily, it just felt that way…which is sort of ironic to say because usually, with any luck, they won’t feel blue, either!

Anyways. You’re probably still confused by the “moldy pancake” mention, so I’ll enlighten you.

They’re buckwheat! Poor buckwheat has been getting neglected on my pantry shelf. And if I’m being completely real with you all, it’s because I wasn’t sure how well the flavor of buckwheat would go with a nut butter, and I don’t like passing on the peanut/almond/cashew butter in the morning.

There, I said it. I base the flavors of my breakfast off of how well I think the nut butter I have in mind will meld with it.

Finally I decided it couldn’t be that bad with some almond butter, and did it up with some blueberry buckwheat pancakes. I am ashamed to admit that I’d sort of forgotten about my love for buckwheat until I was organizing my recipe pages yesterday, and remembered my banana bread buckwheat waffles.

I decided to give blueberries a shot, as I don’t recall ever having them paired with buckwheat, but still topped it with half a grilled banana, almond butter and maple syrup. Real Vermont maple syrup, thank you. As you can see, we take our maple seriously. And you guys always thought I was joking about it.

Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes

1 serving

  • 1/4 c. buckwheat flour
  • 2 T. oat bran
  • 1 T. wheat germ (optional)
  • 1/2 – 1 t. baking powder (to be honest I never measure)
  • 1/4 c. + 2 T. almond milk
  • 2 t. chia seeds mixed with 1 1/2 T. water and allowed to “gel”
  • 1/4 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
  • earth balance or butter, for frying
  • toppings, such as: maple syrup, almond butter, banana

Preheat a non-stick pan over medium heat.  Combine the dry ingredients. Mix in the almond milk and chia egg. Fold in the blueberries.

Grease the pan with a light layer of butter before spooning the batter in two portions onto it. Cook until the sides look like they are beginning to set, and then flip and cook about 3 more minutes on that side.

Top with almond butter, maple syrup and a grilled banana or more blueberries.

Ohhh, buckwheat – how could I neglect you all these weeks?

As for the new Larabar flavor that this sweet & charming young lady hooked me up with?

Well, I’m actually pretty surprised I broke into it right away. Usually things like this I hold onto because I can’t find them, so I have this warped sense of “but I need to cherish it!” similar to how all of our grandparents hold on to every. last. thing. due to the Great Depression.

Or something like that.

But no. There was no waiting. I was too excited. Ironically, I wasn’t even hungry for a snack today but since I’d opened it before leaving home I wanted to at least have a bit of it! So I did, and saved the other half for dessert.

Now. You’d be hard-pressed to find me a Larabar I dislike. Sure, I have my preferred flavors and all – but with how simple they are and given the fact that they’re date and nut based, I can’t say I hate any of them. Not even a little bit.

This blueberry muffin flavor was no exception. But! As with most things in life (gosh darn it!) there is room for improvement. Larabar, I would enjoy a. a stronger blueberry flavor, and b. a little lemon zest. I feel these things will bring your blueberry muffin Larabar to an entirely new level altogether.

Unfortunately, things like this tend to be easier said than done, and here’s where everyone at Larabar is throwing up their arms and asking me if I want to start making them. In which case the answer is surely!

Have you ever tried buckwheat before?

What’s your favorite Larabar flavor?

(and as for putting this song in your head after reading the title of this post? you’re welcome. don’t hate me. please?)

29 Comments

Filed under almond butter, banana, breakfast, buckwheat, cooking, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, nut butter, pancakes, recipe, review, vegan

It’s a Zesty Thing

I wish I had a good excuse as to why I’ve been so absent in the blog world lately. Truth be told – I do have a good excuse…but I’ve been battling as to whether it’s something I want to share with everyone just yet.

And then I remembered that I can be completely open with you guys, without feeling the need to hide anything. Save for the details about where I live and where I am at specific times of the day just because…you know…there are still creepers out there.

Anyways. Enough beating around the bush. The truth is…

I’m in a new relationship.

With my zester. It’s getting really heated these days…and I just can’t bear to be without it very long. Using it brings a whole new element of “brightness,” almost, to a dish – and I knew I was getting a little too involved after wishing I had my zester with me while I was at work yesterday.

To add orange zest to my hot chocolate. I tried this at home just now, and I definitely think it’s one of the weirder things I’ve done. My mind was on the right track – you know, dark chocolate + orange? However, the execution needs work. I’m currently drinking hot chocolate only to chew on a mouthful of zest immediately afterwards. Uhh…whoops.

Luckily – this Dagoba hot chocolate is fan. freaking. tastic. I’ve had my eyeballs peeled (how creepy is the word eyeballs, anyways?!) for a good hot cocoa and when I saw this on sale at the co-op I had to splurge on it. Yes, I just used “on sale” and “splurge” in the same sentence…because it was still $7 for a couple of cups of hot cocoa. Never fear, though – it has chunks of dark chocolate in it, which is pretty amazing whether you love hot cocoa/chocolate or not. I don’t declare myself a chocolate fan, however I love a good cup of hot cocoa to warm up with! I just wish it didn’t have a little bit of dairy in it :\

Oh, and by the way while we’re speaking of eyeballs, my eyeballs were also glued to the TV last night anyways, as I watched Tuuka Rask make a great come-back from a less-than-wonderful game on Sunday night. Just had to throw that out there, you know.

Ask an ordinary human being, and some of my other creations have probably been a little bit out there – but ask me, and I’d say not at all! You’ve already seen me post recipes including zest – the orange-date cookies, the lime poppyseed muffins, and how I’m constantly having pancakes with blueberries and lemon or lime, or cranberries and orange.

But how about something savory?

…like pasta? Pasta with kale and orange zest? And cranberries? and butternut squash? Sounds good to me!

[shallots sauteed in olive oil + kale + juice of one tangerine + salt, pepper, sage + roasted butternur squash + zest of one tangerine + splash of balsamic vinegar + serving of cooked whole wheat pasta + topped with dried cranberries and toasted walnuts]

Similar to that was my lunch today – but the mushrooms took it to the next level.

[sautee 1/4 of a red onion and a clove of garlic in basil oil – add in sliced mushrooms and chopped kale – add in juice of one tangerine – fold in a heaping portion of roasted butternut squash. serve with toasted walnuts.]

The critical element is getting the mushrooms to get a little bit of crispy golden-ness on them and not cooking them until they’re mushy.

And then, there’s the sweet side of my new addiction. Also known as – the combination of two obsessions in a relatively odd way. Also known as – sweet potato pancakes. With orange zest and cranberries.

I thought orange zest would be a good addition because it would add a refreshing element to contrast the heaviness of the sweet potatoes. I also wanted to leave the sweet potato in chunks, rather thanmashing it and adding it to the batter. I wouldn’t have bothered baking a sweet potato just for pancakes in the morning – but I had one I couldn’t finish the night before, so I chopped it up for the following morning. I think next time, I’d make them with the individual chunks having been roasted. I just chopped a potato I’d baked whole, and the texture of the potato and the pancake were a bit too similar.

I topped them with almond butter “mousse” (almond butter mixed with almond milk) date syrup and almonds. I love this crunchy TJ’s almond butter with flaxseeds that Jess sent me – so runny, crunchy and delicious!

True conversation:

“whats in the oven?”

                “a sweet potato.”

didn’t you just have one for lunch?

                “yup.”

huh. is that good for you?”

              “well, i can think of worse things i could have.”

This was followed by my mom telling me I was soon going to turn orange. I’m sorry – but once you oven bake a sweet potato, or have them roasted low and slow, there is no going back!

[for the pancakes: follow the base for my BLOC pancakes, replacing the lemon with orange and blueberries for cranberries, and use only 1/4 of a cup. add in 1/4 of a chopped baked sweet potato. season with ground cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.]

I’ve also put some ripe bananas to good use…do you know what I added to the recipe, though? I bet you do…

…and if youguessed orange zest, you’d be hitting the nail on the head!

Aaaand lastly, but surely not leastly – something a bit more traditional. Blueberry pancakes with tangerine zest rather than lemon or lime! Honestly – is there anything better than some good ol’ blueberry pancakes, panfried in a leetle bit of earth balance (or butter) to get nice and crispy-golden, lightened up with the zest and juice of a good ol’ citrus fruit? And don’t forget, smeared with the aforementioned almond butter mousse and real (vermont!) maple syrup?

The answer is no, my friends. If you’d like to tell me something is better than that, go for it. It might take a bit of convincing, but I welcome the thoughts.

And yes, I’d be totally okay with eating pancakes for the rest of my life.

Alas, this never-ending zesting has left its mark: the knuckle on my left thumb has a permanent scar from my slipping with the zest one too many times (and zesting my thumb knuckle) and my zester is missing a metal “loop.” I’ve eaten it, for all I know. And believe it or not – the zesting is contagious. My mom added orange zest to a jello pudding pie she made the other day!

Zest: yay or nay? I want to hear you weigh in with tips, tricks, recipes, etc!

OH! Two more things: don’t forget about the date syrup giveaway, AND!!! Teddie posted some videos on his blog that might make you laugh 🙂

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Filed under almond butter, baking, breakfast, cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, recipe

Boredom Busters

Boredom Busters for  rainy Tuesday off:

After a humid night, wake to pitter-patters of raindrops on the air conditioner. Not craving hot oats, whip up some coconutty nectarine oatmeal waffles, with a coconutty nectarine chia topping. Enjoy with some homemade cashew butter and crystallized ginger.

Ponder life.

Sip more coffee than one person should in one morning, since another shipment is automatically on it’s way, yet you’ve hardly made a dent in the most recent delivery.

Hit up Price Chopper for some necessities – primarily, old fashioned oats, wheat bran, fresh fruit and veg, and milk – and see Annie’s Bunny Grahams on sale, 2 for $5. Acknowledge the fact you already have a box of Honey grahams at home. Acknowledge that maybe, at this price, why not try them all?

Come home and watch the Rachel Ray show and The Doctors before deciding to get with the times and bake Dreena’s SuperCharge Me cookies. Acknowledge the fact that you don’t really want cookies, you just want to bake. Or do something. It’s okay – need a welcome for sister. She’ll take them home.

[made with 1/3 c. maple syrup, not 1/2 c. – maple sweetened cranberries rather than raisins – dark choco chips rather than carob – mighty maple PB – added wheat germ to flax. these were so good, and my mom and sister raved. sister is even taking home the recipe with the cookies. i enjoyed them too – my kind of cookie!]

Decide you’re not done there, and maybe you should give homemade nut butters another try.

[toasted macadamia nuts + toasted walnuts + drizzle agave + maple sweetened cranberries + cinnamon + salt + drizzle almond milk. not pretty, but tasty. spready, not buttery. i do what i can.]

and while the processor is out, decide to make some homemade Laraballs once again.

Call future pony’s owner to make arrangements for the arrival on Saturday, and immediately afterwards call Dover Saddlery to place an order. Breeches and saddle pads are needed.

Break for lunch (hah! break…break from what?), and take way too much time putting things together that are just going to be disassembled prior to consumption:

[gazpacho bulghur salad romaine wrap]

[greek yogurt, honey bunnies, banana, pumpkin butter, and sunbutter parfait]

Start cleaning the kitchen, then expand to the whole house. Break out the vacuum and everything.

Develop an insane craving for cornbread and bust out all your tried-and-true cookbooks. Settle on a Moosewoods recipe.

Shoot yourself in the foot for buying medium ground cornmeal rather than fine simply because it was cheaper.

Sit on your hands before making anything else that involved food, since that would require inviting all the loony bins in town to come eat it.

After having the baking bug all day, for some reason opt for a simple salad supper;

[romaine + BBQ roasted sweet potatoes + chopped peaches + BBQ roasted portabella + black beans + walnuts (added after photo) in a dressing of maple dijon + apple BBQ sauce + balsmic + chili powder + salt + balsamic + water. cornbread muffin + earth balance to boot.]

Keep sipping coffee. Feed copious amounts to sister, too.

Are you a rainy-day boredom baker, too? What do you do on a dreary rainy day off?

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

Homemade Laraballs!

Alright, alright – I’m doing up this recipe again. Mainly because now I’ve gone through lots of trials and experimentation. And finally took pictures of the process today. And everybody keeps asking about them because I’m a bad blogger and a. never link and b. never explain. Although I should state that I’m not laying claim to owning this recipe – it stemmed from a Moosewoods date truffle recipe in efforts to get a drier, more larabar-esque goodie – and found these measurements to work well, and find it to be pretty universal based on further exploration afterwards, too. When you’re working with this many ingredients, it’s hard to be unique 😉

Quite simply, you will need:

  • a food processor – it doesn’t even need to be a great one. mine is lousy. but it gets this job done no problemo.
  • dried dates and other fruit, as desired – to equal a half cup total. You’re likely to have best luck (and great health benefits!) if you use at least 1/4 cup dates, however.
  • nuts – 1/3 cup, any kind
  • optional: spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger – zests from oranges or limes – a hungry parent who eats them all before you do – family members to drive crazy with your new obsession
  • optional: powders like acai, protein, maca, whatever floats your boat and keeps your heart and muscles pounding
  • 5 minutes
  1. Choose your fruit victims. I’ve always used at least 1/4 cup of dates, about 5 dates. I use the big Medjool dates – don’t use the date pieces you buy in a bag. The other 1/4 cup can be your favorite ol’ dried fruit, or dates again. For today, I got a little crazy in the kitchen and opted for 1/4 c. dates (make sure you pit them, guys. I know, I know – obvious, but I could see myself doing something like that.) 2 T. dried sweet cherries, and 2 T. organic shredded unsweetened coconut.

    I think I see an optional cat hair in there.

  2. Process them in the processor until it’s all clumped together in one big ol’ clump. I’ve found it takes a bit longer to clump together if you’re using coconut, since it’s drier.
  3. Dump the puree into a medium sized mixing bowl. Don’t clean your processor, but dump your 1/3 cup nuts/seeds into the processor. Once again, I got a little crazy and experimented with using chia seeds today, in addition to some honey roasted almonds.
  4. Grind until course ground. I guess you could do finely ground, too…but I don’t know why you’d really want to.
  5. Combine everything into the mixing bowl. Here you could add in some powder or spices, too. I chose to add in some wolfberry Tera’s Whey today – but just a spoonful (half Tbs maybe?). I didn’t want the flavor to be overly abundant, and didn’t have any plain powder.
  6. Knead it all together into one ball. It takes more work if you use a powder of some sort, I’ve noticed. Don’t worry if it’s a bit too crumbly and you can’t work all the nuts in. Life will go on, I promise. Just form them into balls and store in a container. Sample one after that’s said and done, because otherwise you’ll probably want to eat the whole thing before actually forming them into balls.

The nitty gritty:

  • Know that if you use all peanuts, they are quite more pronounced in terms of flavor than any other nuts. It will taste more peanut butter-y than fruity. Not saying it’s a bad thing.
  • After having made them a couple times with protein powder, I think it’d be a good idea to cut back on the nuts a little bit, especially if you’re planning on using a lot.
  • Obviously, form them however you want…but I think the mini-ball size is great for a snack when you just want a little something. That and, I’m likely to never stop buying real Larabars anyways.

Some fun concoctions:

  • cinnamon-raisin – 1/4 c. dates, 1/4 c. golden raisins, 1/3 c. cashews, cinnamon
  • cranberry-orange – 1/4 c. cranberries, any nut, orange zest
  • pb & j – 1/4 c. cherries, 1/3 c. peanuts
  • coconut-macadamia – 1/4 c. shredded unsweetened coconut, 1/3 c. macadmia nuts (note that this mixture tends to be more crumbly, but can still be easily formed into balls.)
  • apple pie – 1/4 c. dehydrated apples (I used seneca apple chips), 1/3 c. mix of almonds, walnuts and pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg

and I’ve honestly forgotten what else. There are so many combos, though – just have fun! And I must say – this was my first time using some chia seeds, and I really think it may become habit 🙂

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Filed under cooking, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, recipe, Uncategorized

pHinding a Balance.

Breaking news: I slept in today. Wahoo! I’m so glad, too; I really think I needed it. I woke up at my regular time, but willed myself back to sleep and slept right up until 8:00. A perfect, reasonable time!

And ohhh, today turned out to be a day and a half – it was perfect. Buckle up, here we go!

I was excited for breakfast this morning, too. I knew just what I wanted!

I decided on Peppy Kernels being my next Bob’s product (I’ll have to rank my favorite Bob’s products soon!! Granted – stuff like spelt flakes, rye flakes, etc. can be any brand, but we all know that Bob’s the man. No, I’m not being paid to say this. I probably should be, though. I’d rock a Bob’s shirt!) I also remembered the yellow mango I picked up last time I was in Hannafords.

Now, I really just had the intent of getting a normal mango, but the yellow mangoes were on sale. I’m not sure if it was just a marketing scheme to get rid of their normal mangoes that were ugly since there was not taste difference (it was just smaller) but if it was, I’m a fool for advertising. I will admit that any day.

It was smaller than a normal mango, small enough that I just used the whole thing. Well, that or I just got carried away cutting it since they look so cool when you cube them and turn them inside out. I think it was more the latter. But other than that, it had no noticeable taste difference.

Where was I? Oh, right. Breakfast. It just so happened to be 100% amazing. I think the fact that I woke up while the sun was coming out made me crave the more tropical-y flavors, whereas when I usually wake up it’s still a little dark and I crave the “warmer” flavors of figs, apples, pears, etc.

The Base:

The Toppings:

  • Chia-Flax Icing
  • Naturally Nutty White Choco Coconut PB
  • cashews
  • and a chutney of the rest of the mango, shredded coconut, and maple-sweetened cranberries simmered in almond milk and maple syrup.

I am not lying when I say this is the best bowl so far of the week. That’s really saying a lot considering my diehard love of figs. Maybe it was the new peppy kernels? Maybe it was those awesome chia seeds Rebekah sent me, giving them extra oomph? Maybe it was how long it’s been since I’ve had mango? Maybe it was the fact that the sun was shining and gorgeous? Maybe I should stop with all the maybes?

Enjoyed with a cup of Green Mountain Southern Pecan. In case you couldn’t tell, it’s all I’ve got left other than Wild Mountain Blueberry, and blueberry isn’t an every day sort of flavor.

I love the Peppy Kernels!! I will say, I initially thought I’d opened a bag of birdseed, and then checked the ingreds again and saw hulled millet. That’d explain it. Scent aside, it provides a lovely crunch from the millet and sesame seeds, but is balanced perfectly by the rolled oats, too. I love a mix of soft & chewy/crunchy. Hence why I tend to mix to begin with. Buh-duhm-chhh!

Initial plans for my day off (yes – completely, honestly, nothing to be strapped to) were to play/work at the barn, but there was an unfortunate change of plans and the barn chicka would have to run out mid-day. So, I set out on a mission.

Bread.

Yep. I’ve been buying loaves long enough that I just want to make my own. I got the “bug” last night and tried finding a good seedy bread/dakota loaf-esque recipe but didn’t have much luck. This morning was similar. I thought maybe I could cheat and get a good mix, so ran to the grocery store. I needed fruit anyways.

I could have gotten close, but honestly, I just found it comical that we still have a snow shovel on our deck.

Well, they didn’t have any mixes worth trying, but I did successfully pick up these three random things.

My mom: “Why’d you get a blackberry tree?”

Me: “Why wouldn’t I get a blackberry tree?”

Actually, the blackbeary tree was pretty well received. Even moreso by the black bears that it will attract, I bet.

And red peppers.

And diced canned beets. I dunno. Just because. Give me something to do with them.

Of course, I also got what I actually went for – bananas, balsamic vinegar, beans, and vital wheat gluten. Not worth a shopping trip if the store wasn’t five minutes away and I had a free day, but hey. I also wanted to find a good nutrition magazine. I didn’t.

I can't believe I'm posting this.

In case you’re wondering if I bothered to go to the grocery store looking even remotely civilized, I didn’t.

ANYWAYS. I finally found a recipe to try. I’m not sure if it was a “I’m so sick of looking at recipes I’m just going to use this one,” effort, though. It’s really hard to find “seedy bread” recipes. Do you have a go-to? Anyways, I ended up using all whole wheat flour, added sunflower seeds, and some vital wheat gluten in hopes to make up for using all WW flour. Oh and I used 1 T. honey and 1 T. molasses. Rather than 2 T. honey. I’ve gotta thank Bonnie for this, though – couldn’t have been made without the local (from Texas) Honey and sunflower seeds she sent me!! Edit: it might help if I link to the recipe I used for those changes to  make sense. Here ya go.

I could have cropped this so it wasn't questionable as to whether I have thumbs - but I found it more comical like this.

I sort of prayed to the bread machine gods (yes, I also wimped out and went the bread machine route) and happened to look at the clock when it was 11:11. Am I the only one who still thinks “quick make a wish!” when they see 11:11 on a clock? Anyways, I wished the bread would work.

While I figured out the programming modes on le bread machine and finally got it running, I nommed on a caramel Oikos with some dried cranberries using a crooked spoon.

A crooked spoon. Not to be confused with Crooked Teeth.

And did a YogaDownload.com video. Ee gads. I might be becoming an addict. Kaia wanted to join me, too.

What else I’m addicted to? Seeing how many different variations of el panino I can come up with. Take #95:

Locally made apple rum walnut conserve spread on my last two slices of dakota loaf (okay, so I actually cut them so they were like, 3/4s of a slice…two whole slices of this bread is always way too filling for me and latelyI don’t feel as bad wasting stuff that the horses will eat. They eat all of our banana peels, stems from greens, bread – pretty much everything but onions, apples, potatoes, and peppers.) and then some of the apple-maple tempeh I baked the other day, plus some baby spinach, gala apple slices, and red pepper. I wasn’t sure if the red pepper would be too out-there, even for me – but I ended up loving the contrast of flavors, and the nice crisp crunch it provided. I’ve been red-pepper obsessed lately.

How’d I make that apple-maple baked tempeh? Well, I did it the lazy way. I just mixed up some unsweetened applesauce, maple-dijon mustard, and a splash of maple syrup and then slathered it all over the tempeh before baking it, flipping halfway in between.At the time I only had one apple left, or else I would have just thrown chopped apples, maple syrup, and a splash of water in a baking dish and then tossed the tempeh in it & baked that way.

I enjoyed this all with a boatload of cottage cheese and plain greek yogs with some honey-roasted peanuts and more dried cranberries. (what is with me & the dried cranberries lately?) I forgot all about the rest of my apple until I was cleaning up and saw it sitting on the cutting board. I was perfectly content so I donated it to the “horse salad” bowl before just deciding to make a direct donation to the Jiggy Foundation.

Apple? Mom, Just give me the apple.

Thank you!

I cleaned my car. Kaia thought we were going for a ride.

Found loot hiding in there.

Hoodies, shoes, socks, mittens, and negatives. I made bank on that cleaning mission.

And my first camera.

Do the contents of your car describe you as well as mine do me? Empty nut jars...

(kidding about the first camera thing. I’m not that old.)

I must have gotten bit by the cleaning bug because then I decided to clean the kitchen…and then found a present at the front door!

I was surprised my coffee came already – it said delicery in 5-7 days. Then I said “Wow, Jess, you’re really dense. It’s Green Moountain coffee. Coming from the green mountain state. Why would it take the full five days if it’s coming from next door?” D’uh. I don’t really talk to myself, but sometimes I do wonder what on earth I’m thinking half the time.

Snagged a few spoonfuls of this

This ice cream (er - frozen dessert) is really sweet and really chocolatey - but for some reason, I still really like it.

before deciding I wanted this

April’s protein cake – made with 1 T. Tera’s Whey bourbon vanilla, 1 T. oat bran, baking powder, applesauce, and egg whites. Smeared with Crofters. And a side of Snyders with Sunbutter. This is actually a snack I have commonly at night, but since I was home I wanted it now. Same goes for the So Delicious.

And eventually, my bread was done.

Have cutting board, will travel.

I split the end slice with my mom fresh out of the “oven.” Verdict? It’s okay. It’s definitely edible, and I think I’ll like it for paninis (it’s got a nice thick crust) but it’s not quite a bread that I would love just as much simply toasting and smearing with a dab of butter, you know? So the hunt is still on for the perfect seedy bread recipe. Preferably a mock Dakota bread recipe – never would have thought it’d be so difficult to find one. I will say, there’s nothing wrong with it – it cooked up quite nice and is a nice, moist loaf – just not what I was aiming for, nah’mean? It was a confidence booster, if you will – I think I’ll go back to baking my own now 🙂

Then we went for a short horseback ride before dinner. I used one of her western saddles rather than my english – and felt so weird! I think western saddles make me nervous because I can’t feel the horse. Sounds backwards, but oh well. Eventually I learned to just relax and enjoy it for its’ comfort – because it was comfortable!

My mom and I spied a white eggplant last time we went grocery shopping together, and luckily she is as much of an eggplant lover as I and was pretty intrigued by it, too. I’ve held off on using it because I wanted to wait for a day we were both home to try it for dinner. Tonight was the night! I thought I’d just go for an eggplant parm (I’m running out of eggplant recipes — what’s your fav?!) but then was greeted by Nicole’s eggplant pizza in my google reader. I love how when I’m searching for a recipe, I can never chose one…yet when I’m not, one will immediately jump out on me and I’ll say “I’m making this.” Note that that was actually sarcasm. I hate how that happens.

Anyways – after coming in from riding to make dinner, I almost opted to make a stuffed eggplant similar to my stuffed pepper – but wasn’t sure if my mom would be a fan of quinoa (even though she loved my red pepper, haha) so I played it safe, and just made quinoa for the side. Ironically, she raved about the quinoa. Yay! It was mighty good – and so was the eggplant! I loved this dinner. Simple, too.

For the eggplant, I did basically the same as Nicole – but used kale to line it, fire roasted diced tomatoes, and canned mushrooms. Added some roasted red peppers and in the final minutes of baking topped with some feta.

For the quinoa, I just prepared two servings and added the eggplant innards that I had cubed. Also added in some balsamic and the rest of the canned mushrooms and tomatoes, as well as some feta. It was great!! Love the idea, too 🙂

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pHinding a Balance

I know what your thinking, and yes – I intended to spell “finding” with a ph. Aren’t I clever? You’ve probably heard random bits about finding the perfect balance of body pH. If you’re like me, you also didn’t quite understand all of it. I am no science junkie. As soon as you start getting all “alkaline-vs-acid-pH-balance” on me, I’m bound to just squint my eyes and look at you like you’re speaking Tibetan. Because to me, you are. But, since I’ve seen talk of body pH becoming more and more prevalent, I decided to see what I can make out if it, and try to understand the role of pH when it comes to your body.

Recap of chem: pH=potential of hydrogen. <7= acidic, >7=alkaline. That means water is neutral, a car battery = 1, and bleach=12.5.

An ideal body pH is 7 or slightly alkaline. When your diet becomes out of balance and the majority of your food starts to fall to the side of being acid-yielding, low-grade metabolic acidosis has the tendency to develop. Say whaa? Basically, it contributes to the decline of bone and muscle mass, typically in aging adults. Why? Since your body’s pH has lowered from all of the acid-yileding foods (for instance, a diet comprising primarily of refined grains, meats, dairy, eggs, and seafood)your body tries to out-smart you, having your kidneys coordinate activities (sounds like a military in there – the kidneys are sending out troops to battle acid!) involving your bones releasing calcium and magnesium, and your muscles breaking down to produce ammonia. Sounds scary, right? Ammonia is strongly alkaline, hence being released in efforts to reverse your body’s acidity. While it may “work,” it leaves the integrity of your bones and muscle lacking.

Now, don’t get all worried and start thinking if you go a couple days, weeks, months even – living off of those primarily acidic foods. These effects won’t be noticed for decades – so basically, you’d have to be eating like this for years. This is why often times, metabolic acidosis is simply confused with old age. Makes sense, right? As people age, their bones may have a tendency to decrease in integrity, so for a while – this was an honest mistake by doctors, and also the reason why body pH has been overlooked. And like anything in the world, there are advocates saying body pH is the most important thing to maintain, and just as many dieticians saying it’s all flak.

So, if it takes so long to see the adverse effects of an acidic body pH, why even bother? Well, why not? It’s not like it’s difficult – all fresh fruits and veggies are alkaline yielding (even if it may be an acidic food, like oranges and apples) Eating enough of them – and surely we all do – helps the body to stay neutral. (think: 35% of your daily calories)

Other acid-yielding foods? as mentioned, dairy – but in addition, fowl, grains, legumes, meat, nuts, rice, and sugars.

Seems scary at first glance, right? I live on legumes. And grains. And nuts. But that’s where balance comes in – I also live on fresh fruits and veggies!

How about you – what do you know about body pH? More than me, I bet – but I hope I explained it okay! It’s one thing I find quite interesting, though can’t necessarily say I put 100% of my faith in, you know? I think I’d get a kick out of taking a body pH test, won’t lie, haha. At first I thought “oh, good – look at all these acid-yielding foods I eat. I’m going to have kidney failure and frail bones and die in a year!” But – I don’t think any of us have anything to worry about, because there is that balance we find, looking to fresh fruits and veggies for a better part of our meals.

My fault? I am a little addicted to sodium – and I think that will prove to be a perfect future post in itself 😉

Have a great night lovemuffins! (aha…I’m laughing re-reading this. dang, I eat a lot. )

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Picnics

What does a foodie do when the weather seems to have done a complete 180 overnight?

Turn to bloggie friends for lifting, of course!

Remember I mentioned last night how I was already excited for this morning’s breakfast? Well, look at what Rebekah sent me!!

Cranberry-Ginger Chia seeds!! Well, to phrase it correctly – it’s more of a breakfast cereal – it’s got buckwheat, sunflower seeds, cranberries, ginger – and of course chia seeds! Perfect timing – I’m actually about 2 tablespoons away from being completely out of chia seeds! Rebekah, you are too sweet. I don’t know how you ever found out I like cranberries and ginger 😉

Naturally, this had to be incorporated into breakfast! And how about Cranberry-Fig Oats?! Or, creamy rye flakes, to be politically correct. It’s a lot easer to say oats than what I’m actually eating.

The Base:

  • 2 T. Bob’s Grains & Nuts, 3 T. Bob’s Creamy Rye Flakes, 1 T. Wheat Bran,
  • 1 T. Ruth’s Chia Goodness Cranberry-Ginger Chia Seeds
  • 1/2 c. water, 1/2 c. almond milk (Almond Breeze this morning! I did a side-by-side comparison and they are exactly the same, other than the fact that Silk has more iron and costs more $$. Iron is expensive I guess. I often get coupons for Silk, however. unless you want a $1 off coupon for almond breeze – then go here)
  • 1 dried fig, chopped
  • trail power
  • drizzle of maple syrup

The Toppings:

  • flax-chia-acai icing
  • crystallized ginger
  • chopped mixed nuts
  • PB & Co Cinnamon Raisin PB (eeek! almost gone! words of wisdom to anyone starting a cinna raisin jar: mix it well! I had no raisins at the top – the bottom I can’t get away from them!)
  • and a mix of frozen cranberries and a chopped dried fig simmered in almond milk and maple syrup.

Enjoyed with some Green Mountain Rain Forest Nut, because I felt much like I was in a rain forest this morning, minus the humidity. I’m glad we have a canopy thing over our porch so I could still get natural light photos! Speaking of which – I am so sorry for slacking on the photo post! I will get it done, I will, I will, I will!

Since there was such a small amount of the chia seeds compared to the oats, it didn’t give the bowl a huge flavor difference, but I swear there was a good hint of cranberry, and  not just from the actual cranberries I put in! That, and – I love the seeds! I’ll be sure to try some by itself to get the real flavor – but this is certainly a cool product. And Rebekah said they had more flavors, too! (p.s. you were right when you said you hoped it was something I wouldn’t be able to get up here – but I wish you weren’t! haha)

So, all in all – Ruth’s Chia seeds = winner. Rebekah? = massively amazing. There are no words. If you haven’t checked her blog out, shame on you! She has such a way with words and addresses serious subjects but in a fun, easy to understand, real way. Love ya, girl!

After that astounding breakfast, I had some work to do. As in, a world regions test. Yum. Walking in the rain to class. Yum. Before I left, I fueled with a date and almond butter. Yes, it was definitely necessary.

I packed a shake of almond milk and Tera’s Whey Dark Chocolate Protein Powder, which I enjoyed with a banana after class. I really enjoyed the dark chocolate power with the almond milk! I didn’t use a full scoop and used probably a cup and a half of milk, so it was pretty dilluted – but to me it tasted just like cookies’n’cream! Can’t go wrong with that, no?

I need to invest in a nice cooler. Instead, I wrapped a kitchen towl and two produce bags around the shake and an ice pack. Inventive?

I kept going back and forth as to whether I should pack a lunch or just buy while I was out – I haven’t eaten out in a while – but finally decided to just pack it, like usual. I’m pretty cheap when it comes to buying meals out, in case you haven’t noticed. Especially when I’m more apt to enjoy this tempeh, spinach, and crofters sammie than anything else I could buy around here. Okay, well maybe the Depot makes a mean veggie sandwich – but I had to run in to work to pick up some prints before class. I didn’t know how long it would take and didn’t feel like making plans to meet up with anybody. And I forgot my cell phone. Nice.

I ended up having a ton of time between classes, and decided to see if the Price Chopper in Rutland carried the cashew cookie larabars. And I scored! Rehab worked for a while, but my bar problem is back with a vengance, apparently. Honestly – $1? I couldn’t make one for $1. Since they had cashew cookie (but, like the other P. Chop, still only carried about 5 flavors) I jumped on that. And successfully waited about fifteen minutes for the elderly man ahead of me to figure out how to use his card, all for 5 Larabars. I also got almost got squished by about three cars since Rutland doesn’t know what a pedestrian and a crosswalk is. Just proves my love for the Larabar, no?

Yes, this is a repeat from yesterday. No, I do not mind that one bit. I should get a panini press that can plug into a car cigarette lighter. Or maybe just invent one while I’m making fig peanut butter, and become really famous.

I jest, I jest. On a more serious note, I’m almost out of Crofters. This puts me in a little bit of distress.

I also grabbed some Snyder’s Butter Snaps,strawberries and TJ’S Sunflower Seed butter that Kelli so kindly sent me accompanied it all. Yesterday’s winner conversation about sunflower seed butter (not naming any names, though) “Sunflower seed butter? What’s that? What’s it smell like?” “Uhhh..sunflower seeds, probably?” From now on when I’m asking people what something is, I’m just going to randomly throw in “What’s that smell like?” too. hah.

But you’re probably wondering where I consumed all this? Since I had sooo much time still, I ventured out to the beautiful boardwalk on my journey back to school! I was so glad I did…you may have noticed that the weather turned out to be quite sunny and warm!

Is it weird that I don’t mind having picnics by myself? Yes? Oh, well. I liked it. I still had (or, thought I had – I had no means to tell time) a bit of time so took a little walk. It got soo windy, and I could tell a storm was going to be coming in, but I had time. It was nice to get in a walk after lunch! Often I do at work, too – bringing stuff to the post office, or just going for a little stroll! (edit: apparently, I need to stop doing twenty things while writing a post – count how many “times” I said “time” in that poorly puncuated sentence. I could edit it and pretend it never happened, but I’ll leave it for the comedy act.)

I finally reported for duty only to find out I was still an hour early. I went for a big loop around campus, and then spent time looking at the art students’ final projects. There were some really great ones!

…and all that time killing proved to be all for nothing. I didn’t have much business being in photo, since it was another work day, and I am doing all of my printing, scanning, etc. at work. She told me I could just leave. It’s funny, because she makes other students stay. If you ask me, she secretly wants me to do bad…

I packed this espresso chip Gnu Bar this morning in case I needed a snack during class…since it was open I just decided to have half when I got a little  munchy this afternoon. Um, this may just be my favorite flavor, which is surprising since I’m  normally a fruity bar person. But – the espresso flavor in this bar jumps out at you way more than chocolate – and I may go so far as to say it’s the best espresso/coffee/mocha flavored bar I’ve ever had the enjoyment to eat. Yes, that good. I think a lot of bars cop out at the coffee/espresso flavor and it turns out to be quite subtle. Not Gnu foods! The espresso seriously grabs you – love. it.

Ever since making eggplant parmigiana for dinner a week or so ago, it’s been at the back of my mind as to when I could have it again. Well – I had a use it or lost it eggplant, as well as some use it or lose it pre-made polenta. Why not make tonight the night?

I made my own breadcrumbs again – some toasted dakota loaf, pepitas, poppyseeds, flax seeds, and seasonings all got whirled until sort of crumby. I have a problem with getting it ground really fine, which makes it difficult to bread, but – oh well. The flavor is still there! Unfortunately, this wasn’t as good as last time – I think I used more balsamic last time, which made them more tender – and I also undercooked them a hair. I think it’s because my mom had it for dinner, too. It wasn’t the plan, but she randomly decided to be veggie with me tonight even though she made pork chops? Murphy’s Law, right? 🙂 Hey – I’m not complaining! Luckily I figured I’d just make all the eggplant and have leftovers for lunch – and she requested polenta to go with her “pork chops” Oh well – it was still good regardless – nothing a little nuking couldn’t save, and the polenta was lovely. Probably because all I did was slice it and fry it. As much as I enjoy making it myself – the pre-made tubes are quite handy.

I made some sauce with a bit of Robusto! Ragu and added in some fresh diced tomatoes, red pepper, basil, and garlic – as well as some black beans for some protein. And another use it or lose it veggie in my fridge? A parsnip! Random addition? maybe. Oh, well.

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There was an interesting segment on my local news tonight about localvores. It was quite interesting! It’s crazy to think about how far your food travels – and one of the anchors is going localvore for a year. A year is a long time – but it made me seriously want to try it for at least a week – I bet it’d be a lot harder than I’d initially think! I mean – what would I have for breakfast?!!?

How locally do you eat? I know I’ve touched upon this before – but I’m talking within a 100 mile radius this time. I can think of only a handful of things in my household right now that are from a facility within 100 miles.

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Foodin’ It

I actually almost titled this post “Foodler,” and then was instantly reminded of my Boston days, where good ol’ Foodler saved the night many a time. Oh, how I love the city. Buffalo chicken wrap? Sure, we’ll deliver! Waffle fries with cheese? Okay! A bagel and cream cheese? It’ll be at your door in ten minutes! Anyone living in Boston – I’m jealous of you. If I lived there now, I’d be browsing Foodler non-stop to get the newest veggie and hummus platter the second it was posted online. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t live there, eh? Here in los mountainos verdes the most I can get delivered is a bad pizza. Oh, the trials and tribulations I face. (Confession: Everytime I was in Boston I made sure to go to this ridiculous waffle fry place. We’d all go in and share two different kinds – both loaded with cheese, of course – but two different seasonings, too. If we were feeling adventurous maybe it’d be three.) What’s your foodie confession? I can’t help but think of waffle fries when I think of Boston, haha. I wonder what I’d think of those fries now! I’d probably ask for sweet potato waffle fries with curry powder and get thrown out of the joint. That being said, I also think of bagels. I’d probably still enjoy the bagels 🙂 Yesterday’s reminder of how much I love plums was still with me this morning, so I did it up. Plums are so, so perfect in oats, in case you haven’t tried yet. Just as long as you’ve got a really ripe one! And this baby certainly was. Except, remember when I kept getting plums that were this vibrant? I don’t think I’ve had any that magenta ever since. So – while less than gorgeous, this bowl was seriously killer. Because I’m vein and love good food and am not afraid to say it. (the vein part was my making fun of myself- the food part was not. I’m really not a vein person, but why am I when it comes to food?!) Le Base:

  • 1 T. oat bran, 3 T. Rolled Barley Flakes, 1 T. wheat bran
  • 1/2 c. brewed coffee, 1/2 c. almond milk
  • 3/4s diced ripe plum
  • trail power
  • 1/2 T. chia seeds

Le Toppings:

  • pomegranate-blueberry flax oil chia-acai icing (I had a bit left over from yesterday)
  • toasted coconut
  • toasted slivered almonds
  • crystallized ginger (I had to bring it back…two days without was far too many.)
  • Artisana Coconut Butter
  • and a compote of the rest of the diced plum and some dried sweet cherries in almond milk with a splash of agave.

Enjoyed with some Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Rain Forest Nut, if my memory serves me correctly. And yes, that is coconut butter, not peanut butter. Remember how I burnt my coconut butter? Still tastes fine, and I’m almost done with the jar anyway. Rut roh – Artisana order coming up? Spells d-a-n-g-e-r for my wallet. Why did I forget how much I love toasted coconut and almonds as toppings?! Probably because using three burners on the stove for breakfast is a little bit of overkill. It’s Saturday – that’s my idea of a party, I guess.

Guys, don’t laugh – but, I went to the grocery store again today. But wait! Before you think I have a serious problem, I do have a reasonable explanation. It was all my mom! I had no intentions or needs to go, but she did, and asked me if I wanted to come along for anything. Since I could use a couple things since I planned to bake all day, I figured, why not? That, and – the nice folks at Stonyfield Farms asked me a little bit ago if I wanted some coupons for Oikos Greek Yogurt. Um, who says no to free greek yogurt? Definitely not me. Since they arrived last night and I kind of needed more – why not use them?! Thanks, Stonyfield! They enclosed the nicest handwritten, personal letter. Not to mention they have yummy yogurt 😛

And – happy cows! Quoting Kristina’s e-mail to me: “Oikos is organic, which means it’s made without artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners, and it’s made from organic milk produced without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, or artificial growth hormones (rBST). Through our purchases of organic ingredients, annually we support over 130,000 acres of organic land. In the past 11 years through our (and you, the customer’s purchases) we have prevented the use of over 1 million treatments of animal synthetic drug treatments. The cows thank you!”

The rest of the morning was spent baking and cooking up a storm! Let’s review:

Upside-Down Banana Cream Pie

My mom’s request was a cheesecake-type dessert, and I asked if she would prefer the cheesecake she was eyeballing from my Moosewoods book, or this Upside-Down Banana Cream Pie from the latest Clean Eating issue (one of the only recipes that caught my eye, unfortunately.) I may or may not have influenced her decision since she knows I dislike cheesecake, but the banana cream pie won.

Aaand, anyone else know that antioxidant levels increase as fruit ripens?! I didn’t! Too cool, though – I prefer really ripe fruit!!

Snack of Champions.

Confession? Pretty much anytime I’m in the kitchen, I grab at least one dried apricot. Dates would be the same problem if the bag was as easy to open as the apricot bag.

Not so cute.

Once the Banana Cream Pie was almost completed and just setting up in the fridge, I set to work on homemade Larabars. I couldn’t decide on a flavor, and finally settled on giving cinnamon-raisin a go. I just made a small batch. They worked well, but I have ideas for making them even better, and may play more tomorrow. Until a recipe is set in stone, here’s a sneak peak:

I used the Moosewoods truffle recipe just so I would have a starting point for the dried fruit to nut ratio…otherwise it was hardly similar, haha.

I polished off the last of my strawberries before setting to work making a half-batch of the same tempeh-quinoa burgers as Thursday night. Luckily for my mom, it was nearly perfect timing! They were coming out of the oven as she was getting hungry for lunch – when I asked if she wanted one, she was more than glad to take one off my hands. I didn’t bake them with the intent for lunch or dinner anytime soon – moreso to freeze and have on hand – but it just worked out that way!

While the burgers were baking, however, I made up a new version of apple-date oat bran breakfast muffins. There were only three (!!) apple-date muffins left, and I enjoyed having it for a work snack yesterday, so I figured – why not make another half-batch?!

pre-baking

I used bananas this time, rather than apples. I also added some flaxseeds, and used maple syrup rather than molasses. And while thoooseee puppies were baking, I realized I was starving for lunch. I think I forget to eat while I’m baking because I’m dealing with so much food that I don’t realize I’m not actually eating. I doubt that makes sense, but oh well?

I ended up needing to eat and finish up in the kitchen in a hurry, because my mom asked if I wanted to go to a horse auction with her. It ended up getting sunny and warm – so of course I said “Why not?!”! Of course, then I found out we were leaving at 1:00 – it was 12:30, I had a mess in the kitchen, muffins in the oven, and hadn’t eaten! Yikes. Luckily – the decision for lunch was the easy part. Obviously, I wanted toast with fig & chevre spread!

I also threw together a quick salad with tomatoes, feta, and hummus dressing and cleaned up the kitchen while I toasted my bread in the oven. My mom accidentally bought escarole lettuce, and didn’t like it. I don’t think I do, either. The bread & spread certainly didn’t disappoint, however! A little more time to savor the taste would have been appreciated, though…

I grabbed a muffin hot from the oven, and we were on our way! I liked the revisions I made – but, for some reason, the oat bran I purchased most recently is kind of…well…more grainy than usual? As in – crunchy? It was a little too noticeable (I thought this about the apple ones, too). I’m not sure if it’s a bad box I got, or if Hodgson Mill is changing their oat-bran technique or what-have-you. Usually, I love the texture oat bran gives to baked goods, but it was much different these past two times. (I’ve also noticed this texture difference in my morning oats.)

We had a lot of fun at the auction! There were…uh…quite a few characters there, to say the least. I think half the entertainment of going to these types of auctions is to people watch, the other half is for the horse watching. And there was definitely one guy that tugged on both our heartstrings! By guy, I definitely mean gelding of the four-legged variety. He was thisclose to coming home with us…but there’s just too much grey area when it comes to buying horses from an auction. As in – too much uncertainty as to their background, health, temperment, etc.

We were there pretty much all afternoon, and I was, once again, more than ready for a meal when I got home.

Naturally, I got right to work in the kitchen for what – the fifth time today? What can I say – I really do love it! I was on my own for dinner – my mom and Henry were just going to grab dinner out on their way to their weekly Saturday-night auction.

Enter: eggplant rattatouille. I don’t know how to spell that, and the closest spell-check gets me is rattlesnake, so hopefully you’re still pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down.

While preparing one serving of whole-wheat penne, I sauteed

  • peeled, cubed eggplant (1/4 of it, approx.)
  • cubed zucchini (1/4 of it, approx)
  • minced garlic clove (one large)
  • a few sprigs of broccoli raab
  • one whole chopped tomato
  • chopped red pepper (unfortunately, not much!)
  • two sprigs of chopped scallions
  • two biiig leaves of minced fresh basil

in some olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Once the penne was al dente, I tossed it with the veggies, and melted in a little bit of fresh goat cheese.

manja!

mmm – sooo good and veggie-rific!

While at the auction I started getting this insane craving for cottage cheese, and still want some, but am perfectly satisfied, so I don’t know how soon that craving will be met, hah. I’m also itching to try some of the nanner cream pie! But, I only left room for a tiny little sample of homemade Larabar…nanner cream pie might get a chance in a little bit, when the rentals are home 🙂

On the plate for tomorrow? Wellllll, I never got around to baking more oatmeal cookies (all gone!! My mom asked if I’d bake some more so Henry would eat those rather than the store-bought, high-sugar kind.) and I might play with more date bars, too. I think I bake half-recipes of stuff just so I have excuses to bake more a couple days later! haha. But, in addition to that, my mom and I are itchin’ to go for a ride. Hopefully the weather holds out!

But what about you guys? And exciting Sunday plans?!

p.s. Holy shopping spree giveaway!! Katie is currently having an i-herb shopping spree giveaway…I know you guys love a natural-foods spending spree as much as I do – and while you’re at it – don’t forget about my giveaway for Gnu bars!!

p.p.s. should i admit i just signed up for a twitter acct? HLTHYexposures is my name. I don’t really know what I’m doing.

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