Tag Archives: orange

Cranberry-Orange-Date Bars

I could actually step outside today without feeling like I was going to lose my toes and nose after a couple of minutes! Phew. Of course…that doesn’t mean I was able to get much done, still, considering it didn’t get warmer until about 10:30. I went out to make sure Teddie still had his toes and whiskers, but didn’t ride him, just played. I feel “wrong” if I ride after 11. I know that doesn’t make sense, but it’s what he’s used to, too.

The one time I rode him in the afternoon, we had the most miserable experience to date, so maybe that’s my excuse.

Like human, like pet. Maybe we’re both morning people. Are you more productive in the morning or the afternoon? I wouldn’t say I use the afternoon to laze around – but if I’ve got a big project to do, it’s getting done in the a.m., not the p.m.!

Take, for instance, this morning: I baked cupcakes and date bars before it was even 10:00. And yes, I made my own breakfast and even got all dressed, too.

And for what it’s worth, let this be a lesson to you all: do yourselves a flavor and use fresh baking soda. I’ve been using old baking soda for…well, probably as long as I’ve been blogging…and never really cared.

I figured the things I bake just don’t rise too much due to the fact I’m usually using whole grains and…er…different…techniques.

Well, that may have something to do with it…but not when I’m making something perfectly “normal.” The first picture – cupcakes I made this morning with fresh baking soda. Above – cupcakes made with old baking soda.

There’s a bigger difference than it looks.

I’ll be making sure I use in-date baking soda from now on, thankyouverymuch.

I bet at least half of you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that sometimes, I just do the weirdest things. Borderline stupid, but I’d rather not call myself stupid. I guess we’ll just settle on “spacey.” Head up in the clouds, nah’mean? Just this morning, I can think of three things that made me immediately shake my head at myself:

  • Oiled a GreenPan. I had no idea they were as non-stick as they are so the oil just sat in one spot in the middle, and as soon as I poured eggs in, oil pooled at the top of the eggs. I felt like the guy on the Worst Cooks in America.
  • Speaking of the eggs, I was making an omelette for my mom’s b/f and totally spaced on how to make an omelette. I used to love eggs, and now I don’t even remember how to cook them. An omelette, for Pete’s sake. Shouldn’t that be almost second nature?!
  • While making these date bars, I put all the crust on the bottom, said aloud “Wow, I didn’t remember the crust being this thick last time!” only for my sister to say “wasn’t there crust on the top last time?” D’uh, Jess.

I’m glad my sister knows what’s up and Henry will eat just about anything served to him, because otherwise I might be in trouble. It’s a wonder I made it out the door with my head on this morning.

Please tell me I’m not alone – what’s the spaciest thing you’ve ever done in the kitchen?

Luckily, for all the things I do completely wrong, I can do things completely, right, too. I whipped up some rhubarb cupcakes on a whim based off of a request, and made some more date bars, too.

My mom and I were huge fans of the date bars out of Vive le Vegan last time I made them, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I made them again.

Since I can’t make the same exact thing twice (apparently) I switched it up a bit this time.

Well, it’s either that or the fact that lately I’m obsessed with anything cranberry-orange, in case you haven’t been able to tell. It’s becoming a little bit of a problem.

A problem I really, really don’t want to fix.

Cranberry-Orange-Date Bars

Adapted from Delish Date Squares from Vive le Vegan

makes 16 squares. Or 8, if you like them as big as we do.

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 c. pitted Medjool dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c. cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c. water
  • juice from one large orange
  • 1/4 t. sea salt
  • zest from one orange
  • generous pinch of ground clove

Crust:

  • 2 c. quick oats
  • 1 c. white whole wheat flour or unbleached all purpose flour (I use WWW – there are so many other wonderful flavors in these that even the most sensitive of palettes can’t detect the disguised whole wheat flour!)
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 3 T. date syrup (agave or maple syrup would work, too)
  • 3 T. almond milk (I used unsweetened)
  • 3 T. coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 350*. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine all of the ingredients for the filling except for the zest. Cook approximately 10 minutes, or until the dates break down. It might not seem like that will happen – but just keep stirring occasionally and the mixture will become smooth and thick. Once it is done, stir in the zest.

In a separate large bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Add the date syrup and almond milk and combined until clumpy, and then stir in the oil, again combining until clumpy. You might have to use your hands. The mixture will be crumbly but should hold together okay when pressed.

Lightly spray a 9×9 baking dish (or thereabouts) and press 2/3rds of the mixture in the bottom of the pan. Pour and spread the date mixture over top, and then sprinkle and then gently press the remaining crust mixture over top of that. Bake for about 28 minutes, or until golden on top. Allow to cool before slicing and serving.

I was going to save some to bring to work tomorrow…but they might not be good enough.

Which is actually just Jess-speak for “These are too damn good to be giving away.”

32 Comments

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

Orange-Cashew Tofu

And yet again, I win the “world’s worst mother” award. It’s a good thing I’m not a little-kid person, because otherwise I’d probably leave my kids waiting for me in the rain after school when I was supposed to have picked them up an hour ago.

I didn’t ride Teddie Thursday because I didn’t feel like dealing with the snow.

I didn’t ride Teddie again today because I didn’t feel like dealing with the cold.

Truth be told, he’s probably not complaining – but it’ll probably be too cold again tomorrow, and the little bugger’s bound to be a handful for me on Tuesday! I even did an extra-long workout in attempts to kill time and give it a chance to warm up.

Unfortunately for me, “warm up” meant it raised a couple of degrees…from 10 below to allllmost 0.

Anytime you feel your nostrils freezing and your lungs burning when you step outside, I declare too cold to ride. Yes, I give you in the colder regions permission to poke and laugh at me.

Instead, I took the unplanned “morning off” to search for more ways to sell artwork other than just my Etsy. Including attempting to photograph a shot I printed, matted and framed yesterday.

Wouldn’t this look lovely hanging in your home?! I think so. (kidddding. Well, not really…)

Anyways. I won’t lie about being a leetle bit excited that it being so cold gave me an excuse to watch a mid-day hockey game against the Penguins. Usually I hate laying/sitting down and watching the tub in the middle of the day…but curling under covers and snuggling with a cup of hot tea was just the perfect activity for a cold day.

It was at this point that I got so upset I decided I might as well start marinating my tofu...

Oh, who am I kidding. I didn’t watch this game curled under covers, I watched it screaming and shaking my fist at the television. I sound a lot more sane if I just leave it at “sipping tea,” though.

...and it was at this point that I abandoned my tofu on my photography chair and went running back into the room.

….aaaaand, we lost. I’m just going to say they felt bad for the Pens after beating them so bad last time. That’s why we passed the puck to them so often, right, Susan? (just heckling – I’m happy for your boys. And you being a fan makes me not feel so grumpy about losing, because I’m sure it made you very happy.)

What better way to lessen the blow of a bad game than good food, right?

I’m talking tofu, not takeout.

One recipe that stuck out to me while flipping through ED&BV was the cashew-ginger tofu. Ironically, I liked it a lot more before I read the ingredients past “cashew butter,” but I was pretty well sold on the title and the fact that it uses cashew butter alone.

…and then I read the rest of the recipe and decided I probably wasn’t going to like it as it used tamari.

Not surprisingly, I did my own thing.

And loved it. A lot. Of course, one thing you guys miiiight not know about me is that I’m a closet cashew butter freak. Best nut buttah evah? I believe so.

The mellow flavor of the cashew butter combines so perfectly with the subtly sweet orange juice and orange zest, and the soft spice given from the ground ginger and clove. This tofu would be wonderful atop a nutty grain like bulgur or brown rice, preferably one seasoned with more orange and dried cranberries, too!

Orange-Cashew Tofu

Inspired by Eat, Drink and Be Vegan’s Cashew-Ginger Tofu

Serves 1 as a main, 2 as a side (?)

  • 1 serving tofu, as indicated on the box (for me, 1/5th of a block)
  • 1 T. cashew butter
  • zest and juice of one orange
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • pinch of ground clove
  • 1/4-1/2 t. honey (I’m sure agave or maple syrup would be just as good if you’re vegan, or it could probably even be omitted)
  • 1-2 T. water as needed

Slice the tofu into approx 1/4″ slices, and then cut into triangles. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients until smooth. It will look like it’s separating at first, but if you whisk fast enough it will come together in no time. (yes, you might need to use your big muscles) Pour half the cashew mixture in a small sealable container, and then layer in the tofu. Pour remaining cashew mixture over top, cover, refrigerate and let sit at least one hour.

When ready to bake, heat a drizzle of oil in a nonstick pan. Spread out the tofu and cook until golden on both sides. Reserve the marinade in the container, and serve by drizzling it over top. Note that you could probably pour it in the pan while the tofu is browning, too, and cook until it gets thicker, but I wasn’t sure that it wouldn’t get “thick and pasty” like the original recipe warns of. Next time, I’d give it a try, though, as it was a little liquidy still.

What’s that? You want to know what that mess is I served it with?

Oh, okay…

That, believe it or not, was my attempt at a neat plating arrangement, but it really just backfired.

Once I tasted it, I didn’t care, however. Because this meal was good.

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • 4-5 large white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • juice of half an orange
  • zest of one orange
  • ~2 T. dried cranberries
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg

Heat olive oil in pan, add in onions. Cook until almost translucent and tender, add in garlic. Stir, add in mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper, cook until tender. Add in carrot, cranberries and juice of orange. Cook until most of the juice has been absorbed. Shut off heat, add in spinach, and cover until spinach is mostly wilted. Stir in nutmeg, orange zest and spinach until incorporated.

And that’s a scoop of bulgur on top, with some of the marinade spooned over and all topped with cashews.

I die.

Are you a wimp in the cold, too? Does weather have influence over your plans, or do you tough it out no matter what?

 

28 Comments

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

Bulgur and Tempeh Salad with Citrus

Okay. I’m sure there was at least one of you who was willing to bet that I wasn’t going to wait much longer to “break into” my new Mac. Who cares that I don’t have a place to put it – throw it on the floor, right?!

Well, maybe not quite the floor. Maybe I’ll just steal the coffee table from the living room. And it’s really just because now that I’ve got the photos from my old computer on the new one, I really needed to put through a senior picture print order I’d received just after the computer crashed!

Sorry. You know I had to go there, though.

Anyways. This is Maxwell. Naming credit goes fully to Tatianna! And I’m going to put this out in the open: I respect Maxwell too much to let him become a complete mess of unorganized pictures and unnamed files. From here on out, I will be ORGANIZED with my images. Right down to naming my food folders with the names of what they contain. And we’re starting right off with “OrangeBulghurSalad”. You’ll see why soon…but I think it’s pretty self explanatory.

But first.

I did something I never thought I’d do today. What you see in the blender above is a mish-mosh of black beans, orange zest, orange juice, almond butter, my computer is making noises and I don’t know what they are, parsely, garlic and other weird things. I was a little queasy thinking about it.

But no fear. It was hummus. Weird hummus. But sometimes, you’ve just gotta trust people.

When I saw the Black Bean and Orange Hummus in Eat, Drink and Be Vegan I skipped on by.

When Daniel suggested I make it to have with my sweet potato obsession, I considered it before grimmacing again and passing.

When I saw the grocery store had no hummus and I’m all out, I knew I’d have to suck it up and make my own.

When I realized there was no way my blender could puree chickpeas like the folks at Cedars can, I grumbled, sucked it up, and made the damn black bean hummus. Because black beans are softer. And I’m on a zesting kick anyways, remember?

I’d probably like this hummus better if someone made it for me and I didn’t know that I was eating a puree of black beans, garlic, almond butter and orange. But as it is, it’s okay. I think I’d prefer it sans garlic, though.

Somebody call the news, I just said sans garlic! That is earth-shattering, my friends.

But while we’re on the topic of what goes good for sweet potato dippage, I don’t think I’ve quite told you all my true passion for this barbecue sauce:

Good old Grandpa Jim’s. You know something’s good when the brand starts with Grandpa or Uncle.

…our original BBQ sauce…best used on meatloaf, pulled pork, chicken, ribs, venison and more.

And sweet potatoes. He forgot to mention sweet potatoes. This BBQ sauce (which was developed just a drive away, I might add – which makes it even mo’ betta’) has me so spoiled rotten that I tried another brand the other day and had to spit it out. It wasn’t attractive. And no, the sauce wasn’t “technically bad,” as my sister had no problem gulping it down.

Anyways. Enough rambling. (…but you know me and you probably know that even after saying “enough,” I’ll continue to do so…)

For Valentine’s Day last year, I received a Bob’s Red Mill Cookbook.

Before you say “awww! how sweet!” it was from my mother. Which is still sweet, but not awww how sweet, you know?

For some reason, I’ve been a bit…tardy…going through it. This is quite unusual for me. But, I think a large part of it has to do with the fact that back when I received it, I wasn’t as comfortable altering a recipe to make it “animal friendly” or a little healthier. Now that I am, I think I have a brand new appreciation for the book.

I might even go so far as to consider it a “grain bible.” There are so many recipes that utilize various flours, grains, cooking methods and a wide array of flavors, too. I flipped through it the other night, not expecting to find much, but fell in love with about five recipes in a row, and then had to stop browsing because my imagination was running too wild.

The first one that caught my eye was a recipe involving rice, chicken and a orange vinaigrette. I decided I’d tweak it just a bit, and utilize bulgur wheat, tempeh and keep the vinaigrette pretty much the same.

This salad is wonderfully refreshing – it can be enjoyed either hot or cold, and I love it over a bed of mushrooms and greens, but I bet it would be wonderful wrapped in a large collard leaf or a wheat wrap.

There’s a couple different routes you could take with the tempeh preparation. In the instructions, I tell you how I did it, which was lightly boiling for five minutes and then panfrying. If you’re against boiling things, by all means – skip that step. If you’d prefer your tempeh boiled for the full ten minutes to remove any trace of bitterness, by all means, do that.

Bulgur and Tempeh Salad with Orange-Dijon Dressing

adapted slightly from Bob’s Red Mill

serves 2 as a main, 3-4 as a side

  • 1/2 block tempeh, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 t. basil oil
  • 1/2 c. bulgur wheat
  • 1 large orange, juiced
  • 1 orange, cut into sections
  • 1 t. whole-seed dijon mustard
  • 1 t. honey (if veganizing, I’m sure maple syrup would be a wonderful substitute)
  • 1/2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 of a medium red onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 t. dried chives (fresh would be even better)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • walnuts, to garnish

Prepare the bulgur: bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Once boiling, turn off heat and pour in the bulgur. Stir once and cover. Allow to sit 10-15 minutes to absorb all the water.

Prepare the dressing: Whisk together juice of orange, mustard, honey and vinegar. Set aside.

Prepare the tempeh: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, place the tempeh pieces in the boiling water and simmer for five minutes (ten if you want it more tender and less bitter) After five minutes, drain and toss with the basil oil. Heat a small saute pan over medium-high heat and transfer the tempeh to the pan. Pour half of the dressing over and stir to coat. Continue to heat until dressing is absorbed. Remove from heat.

To combine: In a bowl, combine the diced onion, pressed garlic, dried chives, orange sections, salt, pepper, cooked bulgur and tempeh. Toss to combine and then stir in the remaining dressing. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

May be served warm or cold – top with walnuts, if desired.

Uh-yuhm.

So, I made orange black-bean hummus today by combining black beans, almond butter and oranges – weirdest things I’ve ever combined to make something edible. What’s the “scariest” ingredients you’ve ever combined to make something surprisingly tasty?

20 Comments

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

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 🙂

30 Comments

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

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.”

9 Comments

Filed under all natural, almond milk, applegate, banana, breakfast, chia seeds, college, cooking, cornmeal, food, food blog, foodblog, health, health blog, health food, healthy cooking, healthy eating, healthy food, healthy living, horseback riding, lunch, oatmeal, oats, organic, panini, polenta, pumpkin, recipe, review, salad, sweet potato, vegetable, vegetarian, vermont, walk, whole grains, wrap