Tag Archives: polenta

Predictable

I get it. I’m predictable. Well … for the most part, at least. And especially lately.

For instance, if you predicted that breakfast would look a lot like this…

Overnight oats

sunbutter? check.

banana? check.

ginger preserves? check.

nuts? check.

a peach might be slightly unpredictable – but only if i’m grasping at straws. granola is also predictable of me – while i was never a fan of granola on hot oats, i just love the crunch it gives to overnighters.

and obviously iced coffee was present. green mountain? check.

if you predicted that i went to the barn to see this cute little face…

you would be correct.

if you predicted that i would just dote on him…you would be correct.

if you predicted that my lunch today would look a lot like this…

when’s the last time i didn’t pack a sandwich for lunch at work? and it’s practically a given that anytime broccoli appears at dinner, i’ve made extra just for use in a sandwich with a boatload of garlic hummus, feta, tomato sauce, and roasted broccoli.

if you predicted that to accompany my sandwich i would have a piece of fruit and my freshly made crackers from yesterday…

…you would be correct. And if you also predicted that it would be enjoyed outside, enjoying the slight heat and sunshine compared to the icebox that was my work, you would be correct once again.

you guys can read me like a book!

if you predicted that my snacks would look a little something like this…

…you would be incorrect! hah!

okay, so you’d actually be correct in that i intended to eat all this for snack – but in actuality, my appetite was a little slow today. i munched on the fruit strip mid-morning, and had just a portion of my homemade “chunk” of energy in the afternoon.

i am fairly certain, however – that this is a cursed larabar. i don’t think i can count on two hands how often i’ve taken a picture of it, intending to eat it – only for it to be either pushed aside for another bar, or not needed.

if you predicted that an iced coffee would be had at work, however – you would be correct.

Dinner, however? maybe not quite as predictable.

still a very “jess” meal – but i can’t remember the last time i had polenta! this pretty lady has been asking for polenta ideas, which i think is what got me craving it tonight. i haven’t had it often because the last time i bought a new bag of cornmeal, i purchased medium grind cornmeal accidentally, rather than the fine grind that becomes lovingly known as polenta. i just combined the medium grind into the fine grind bag – so tonight i just dumped it all out into a new canister, which put the fine grind on top. hence…polenta! i will probably try seeing if i can process the coarser ground stuff and get a finer texture – but didn’t feel like whipping it out tonight.

so – i combined old with new for dinner! some of the beanballs and eggplant i made sunday, on top of a “polenta patty” mixed with fresh garden tomato. and of course, feta cheese.

so predictable.

but on my [long] drive home, i got to thinking – do i mind being predictable, going about my daily life in nearly the same fashion day in and day out? do i regret how i used to be, now that i’ve “mellowed out”? i mean – i wasn’t always predictable. i used to have a pretty big social life, actually – whereas now i only “go out” every so often, and it’s never until 3am doing god-only-knows-what. i think my freshman year i was home and in bed before midnight maybe once or twice. actually  – i take that back…during vacation i was probably home a lot, but that’s only a week at a time 😉 but do i regret that? no. because who knows who i would be right now if i never made the choices i did. would i respect myself as much as i do now? would i be as close with my mom as i’ve become? would the little things like the morning sunlight shining across teddie’s face, catching the glint in his eye just right, mean so much to me? would i love life as much as i do now? i mean, i’m not saying i was out doing terrible things all night long, but i certainly could have found a more conductive way to spend my freshman year.

like doing schoolwork and going to class, but i digress.

i guess my point is, i don’t mind living a quiet, peaceful life, but nor do i regret that i wasn’t always this way. i’m glad i’ve made the decisions i have, and learned from them whether it’s because it was a bad choice or a good one. i don’t want my life handed to me on a silver platter. i want to earn everything myself. i want to make my own decisions. i know i can – we can do anything we set our minds to.

aaaaand, just because i love this song so dang much, listen to this while you stew about the life you live:

what about you – are you predictable? do you mind?

are you glad you’ve made the decisions you’ve made, good or bad?

(and nooo, this isn’t just an excuse for being a homebody 😉 )

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

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.

____________________________________________________

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

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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