Tag Archives: pumpkin

It’s All the Rage

There are two things running rampant in blog-ville these past few days.

One, pumpkin.

And two, a pesky little thing we’ll call the MC article. Lets talk about pumpkin first. Pumpkin is a lot happier.

So, brew yourselves some coffee…

…and lets discuss how to go through a can of pumpkin in just one day. Yes – that’s right. I’m sort of bummed. I usually prefer the smaller cans because the big cans are…just too much pumpkin all at once. And now I don’t even have pumpkin left to have overnight oats with tomorrow. Nice going, Jess.

Apparently, I was really into “tutorial-type” pictures today.

If you bear with me through them all, I’ll show you a Teddie video tomorrow. Don’t get your hopes up, though. We’re not doing anything, I just show you him trying to eat a carrot for two minutes and forty seconds.

Anyways. We’re gonna make pumpkin pancakes with an apple compote type topping. Yes, I said pancakes. I was feeling adventurous.

Start by chopping up a nice, fresh, crisp, local apple, and sautee it in some almond milk, cinnamon and a teensy drizzle of maple syrup over low heat while you prepare everything else. If you’re good, the timing will be impeccable, I promise you.

And meanwhile, mix together 1/4 c. quick oats, 3 T. WW flour, 2 T. oat bran, 2 T. raisins, baking powder, 1/4 c. pumpkin, 1/2 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. nutmeg, 1/2 T. molasses, 1/2 c. almond milk, 1/4 c. pumpkin puree, and a chia egg and pour by 1/4 c. scoops into a preheated non-stick pan sprayed with olive oil spray. Or coated with real oil, whatever.

I know, I know. Teflon and spray oils, I’m surprised I’m still kickin’.

Whilst those are cookin’ (cause they take forever, and reminded me why waffles are so. much. more. convenient.) take your vitamins…

…and make the prized peanut butter sauce. It’s quite simple. Like sunshine and spaghetti.

I currently have a big jug of Canadian maple syrup, though. It was an accident, I swear. Please don’t throw me out to spend the night with the horses, please don’t!

I just mush-mix about a tablespoon or so of peanut buttah with maybe double or triple the amount of kefir, and a lil’ drizzle of maple sizzurp.

Don’t forget to keep stirring your apples!

Don’t forget to flip your pancakes!

You could probably make four normal sized ones. I, however, grew too impatient for that and just made the last one really huge.

And toasted the first two while I waited. Please tell me I’m not alone and you guys toast your pancakes, too. So good!

Add some raisins to your apples in the last few minutes or so! They pucker up and…well, who doesn’t like apples, cinnamon, and raisins?! You cook it until the liquid is just about gone and/or the apples are soft. You can add more milk if you haven’t reached the desired consistency yet.

And plate it all up!

These obviously aren’t your typical pancakes – they’re like oatmeal in the middle, all mushy, pumpkinny, and yummy – which was just what I was going for! If you want a really excellent “real pancake” recipe, however, might I suggest this one?

It still doesn’t feel like “pumpkin season” yet, and so I was apprehensive about breaking out the pumpkin – but once I did, there was, apparently, no stopping me.

When I came home from the barn, I had to fix up a pumpkin green monster!

Topped with wheat germ, pepitas, and figs with a slice of toast and cashew butter.

And then, I baked.

I baked pumpkin birdseed bars, of course! Except, after the fact, they’re more like gingerbread birdseed bars, but I’m not complaining. It made me realize – why hadn’t I thought to make gingerbread?! Sure, I made ginger ones (which, by the way, my mom brought to work and told me her co-worker wants the recipe! I was flattered.) but that differs from gingerbread.

Combine 1/4 c. rolled oats, 1/4 c. puffed millet, 1/4 c. pepitas, 1/8 c. chia seeds, 1/8 c. poppyseeds, 1/8 c. chopped walnuts, 1/8 c. sunflower seeds, 1/8 c. protein powder, 1/4 c. raisins, 1 t. cinnamon, and 1/2 t. nutmeg

…and then play with molasses. I paid good money for this organic, fair trade molasses! …and was unashamedly mesmerized by how gooey and dark it was!

In a smaller bowl, combine 1/4 c. milled flaxseed, 1/4 c. pumpkin puree, and 1/8 c. blackstrap molasses.

Mix it all up…

…and then combine it with the dry ingredients. It won’t be easy at first, but neither is life. I’m just prepping you for the real world.

You might need a little more moisture – that’s okay, just pour in 1-2 T. of unsweetened almond milk. You’d rather them be too wet than too dry! Unless you’re…different.

And heck, now that you mention it, some ginger syrup would taste pretty fine, too! Just a drizzle will do.

Before anyone asks – no, by technical definition, this is not a “bar pan.” It is to me, though, so it will continue to be called that by moi.

It is, however, a mini loaf pan. It’s the equivalent of an extra large muffin pan, I think.

Make sure you press them down really, really good! Sort of press and smooth, ya know?!

Bake them for 10-15m at 375*. More for crunch, less for…goop? Whatever floats your boat.

I think I did 13 minutes, and have a wonderfully moist yet still “bar-y” texture.

Yes, 13 minutes. That’s  a big deal for me, considering when cooking things I prefer to go in multiples of five.

Believe it or not, I did more with my life than bake pumpkin today. Aside from playing with Teddie and the other ponies, doing homework, and getting in some twerkin’ out, my big bargain buys came from SmartPak.

Why yes, yes I do jump at the chance to save 90%. This jacket was originally $236 (honestly – who pays that?!) and I paid $24. Oh, yes. And the vest, too. I had to.

But, continuing on in our practices of pumpkinism, lets make pumpkin baked gobbletti! Gobbletti (or gobetti? I don’t know) is a form of pasta, if you’re scratching your heads. This was based on a Veganomicon recipe. It’s my “I don’t feel like dirtying dishes and want to get more reading done rather than stand over the stove” version.

Nuke a couple handfuls of baby spinach in a large bowl until it’s slightly wilted. Stir in 3/4 c. pureed pumpkin, 1/4 c. chopped red pepper, 2 T. diced red onion, a generous pinch of nutmeg, 1 t. date sugar, generous 1/2 c. black beans, salt, maple pepper, and ground black pepper.

Thin it with water (1/2 c.?) and stir in your pastaaa. I love this shape! Shape really is everything.

Cover, and bake at 375* for 45 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked.

I topped it with some dried sage, chopped walnuts, and paprika. It was lovely. But apparently I was too eager to eat it to take a good picture.

I made a double batch, though – maybe tomorrow I will.

Or not.

Anyways. This post was needlessly picture heavy, sorry about that. Now onto something a little more serious that I’ll preface with this: I was, and am still not, one to get involved in drama-rama. All through high school and still now, I don’t really care about who said what and she said that. I don’t keep grudges, I don’t retaliate, I try not to get too upset. Life is too short for that junk. When I read the Marie Claire article that I’m sure you’ve all heard of, my heart hurt for those bloggers. I just can never understand when people are downright mean.

I’m not going to defend them (Not only have they done it quite eloquently thmselves, but I don’t know them) because it’s not my job. In fact, sure – the article raises a good point, though quite arguably, one that could have shown both sides of blogging… because here’s the positive: it can educate for the better, and counter against disordered eating, too. I am only where I am now because of these blogs. The media sure as heck didn’t have anything to do with it. Blogs have done more for me than the public and media has, and media is far more commonly seen than the majority of the health blogs out there. When I first started blogging, I was all about “shortcuts.” Sugar free maple syrup, because obviously chemicals are better than real food. Stevia, because of course any form of calories from sugar were the devil. Oil alternatives, because of course there’s no such thing as healthy fat.

Note the sarcasm. When we go through the grocery store aisles, see commercials on TV, and see advertisements in magazines, it’s all low-cal, low-fat, sugar-free, fat-free “food substitutes.” I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I see from the majority of blogs I read. And if I read one that I don’t agree with, I don’t have to read it. Ahh, the wonders of that cute little red “X” in the top right corner.

So, that’s that. I wasn’t going to say anything, but I feel like by not, I am turning a blind eye. So yes, I understand that while the article may raise a valid point about some blogs, I also understand that when it comes to the blogs in question, I’ve never been more inspired to become the best “me.”

And that’s that. So – what’s your favorite pumpkin dish?!

36 Comments

Filed under breakfast, cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, lunch, recipe

Off Guard

Did anyone else get caught off guard by Monday? I couldn’t believe it when it was already 9:00 last night – and after all that driving, I hit the hay earllyyy! Was still a little groggy waking up this morning, but sometimes you’ve just gotta do what ou’ve gotta do, right? 😉

I opted for some tropical oats this morning, and diced up a fresh mango. Because other than mangoes, overly expensive pears, strawberries and blueberries, and the normally priced abananas and apples – there is not much in the way of fresh fruit up here right now.

Bummer. Luckily, I like mangoes. And bananas. And apples.

The Base;

and topped this puppy with:

  • flax-chia icing
  • chopped mixed nuts (mostly brazil)
  • Mae’s coconut butter
  • and a compote of some diced mango, frozen blueberries, chopped dates and shredded coconut simmered in some almond milk and maple syrup. And chai spice blend, too.

And, as usual, enjoyed with a cup o’ joe. Flavor of the morning? French Vanilla. And another side of sunshine! With pony thoughts in my head and “ee gads, I hope I can find a nice dressage saddle without selling my soul,” I enjoyed this lovely taste of the tropics. (which, by the way – thank you all oh so very much for the congrats 🙂 your excitement made me even more excitement! I just can’t wait for him to get here…and I have NO pictures to show you guys!! I had my camera with me – but didn’t think to snap one until we got in the car to leave. And none that the seller sent me because, well – it sort of goes along with our “finding him by chance,” story.)

I’ve still got a good amount of that lentil-bulghur salad, so that’s what I did for lunch again today.

Sandwiched between some baby spinach to protect that heavenly seeded whole grain to keep from getting soggy. That is the last of the first half of the loaf. I guess I shouldn’t have bothered to freeze the other half – although maybe I won’t waste so much of my homemade bread after all! I guess it’s safe to say we all loved this bread!

Did anyone else know that lentils are a great source of protein? Yeah? Oh, well, I guess I’m just on the slow bus. I grabbed a caramel Oikos to pair with it anyways.

Oh, and a gala. numnumnum.

Before that, though, I had a morning snack of a honkin’ big banana. I was feelin’ like Vanna White this morning.

…and after that (well, lunch – not the banana) I had the best Larabar of all time. And it kept in tune with my tropical breakfast!

Yes, that would be the tropical tart flavor. I about died – perfect mix of coconut, pineapple, and orange. Holy yum – thanks, Katie! I haven’t seen this one in stores around here yet, so I’m so glad I got to try it 🙂 I’m hoping I can find it at Hannafords…if not I’ll just have to recreate it mself 😉

I was at a total loss as to what to make for dinner tonight. I seemed to have lost my mo-jo. I couldn’t think of a single thing, but then started thinking about how it’s been a while since I’ve had pasta. Okay, pasta.

But what to do with it? I thought back to when I made Veganomicon’s pumpkin saag, and decided to make some sort of pumpkin pasta.

I just sauteed onion, kale, and red pepper and then added in some pumpkin puree and followed by a spoonful of cottage cheese. I seasoned with salt, pepper, chili powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I was a little too heavy-handed with the pumpkin…but otherwise it was quite good – and very filling.

If you’ve seen my mo-jo, please send it back…?

As a side note, that’s the last time you’ll see that bowl. There was just a loud bang in the kitchen. Henry dropped it.

__________________________________________

After my last post, where I mentioned how I way over-packed for our trip, Monet asked for some advice pertaining to staying healthy while traveling. I wasn’t quite sure if she meant for the duration of the stay, or just a long travel-day like I did yesterday, but here’s a couple fun packing tips!

I will say, however – my family rarely goes on vacation. I guess we’re just homebodies! haha. Really, though – it’s difficult with all of our animals. But, regardless!

-As you know, I always pack lunches for travels – mostly to save time and money (we stopped in a couple places yesterday for stretch & facilities breaks, and I grimaced at the prices – I was tempted by a fruit salad cup, but then saw that it cost $3 next to a big bag of potato chips for $0.99. $3?!?! I passed.) but also because most of the time – I never know what kind of area I’ll wind up in! Quick sandwiches or wraps in a cooler work well, but remember the basics of sandwich packing:

  • lightly toast bread before making to keep it from getting soggy – but make sure everything is completely cooled before wrapping
  • “line” breads or wraps with spinach or lettuce, then pile on condiments & moist veggies
  • simple salads (like yesterday’s bulgur-lentil salad) work really well because there’s less to fall out. if you’re the driver, you’re sure to appreciate this.
  • tomatoes aren’t a complete no-no – but plum/roma tomatoes work best. cut them on their sides and de-seed them. another alternative is to just use some tomato paste in place of tomatoes
  • it’s okay to not be 100% environmentally friendly for this time – if you’ve got parchment paper, i personally think that works best.
  • stay away from oils or liquidy dressings.

-To maximize cooler space, pack a bunch of fruit that doesn’t necessarily require refrigeration. Bananas and apples are particularly hardy. And who doesn’t like bananas?! Beware of juicy fruits like plums, pears, and peaches – you might make a mess of yourself and your car and have no means to clean it up. Speaking of which, do you carry hand sanitizer in your car, too?

-We all know I love bars. Lara being my favorite. In addition, homemade lara balls are really handy and inexpensive, and would definitely work better for a large group of people traveling. I like the homemade mini-balls best because sometimes I’ll start to feel sort-of snacky, but it’s as much if not more from boredom than it is from true hunger. The mini homemade balls are just the ticket!

-I love munchies like banana chips, nuts, dried fruits, dr. krackers and pretzels, too. I actually have a jar of nuts that I keep in my car (okay, bars too – but that’s besides the point) Once again they’re great for when you’re sort of hungry, but not hangry.

-Make some baked goods beforehand. This is along the lines of bars, but if there’s a lot of you, it’d probably be most economical to make a big batch of homemade granola bars, some sort of muffin/scone/cookie rather than buying a whole bunch of bars. They add up!

-Use waterbottles as ice packs. Okay – probably well-known. But rather than have icepacks taking up cooler room, freeze a bunch of water bottles and use them. Comes in handy when you’re thirsty for some ice water!

-Veggies – cut up into bite size pieces like carrots, celery, cukes – whatever floats your boat. You could probably snag some hummus, too!

And last but not least – don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and have fun! It’s not like you’ll be there the rest of your life, so when you do go out to eat, don’t try to limit yourself.

A lot of these foods can be unloaded into a fridge or something once you get to your location, or if you’re not going anywhere and rather just making a long day of travel, put back into your own fridge. I pretty much just love saving money when it’s this easy, which is why I often opt to do these things rather than just rely on eating out. Why spend $10+ on lunch when you can pack stuff from home?!That and, my mom and I are both sort of “get there and get it done,” people – yesterday, for instance – we wanted to get there, spend time seeing Teddy, and get home to feed our own horses. Wasting time finding  a place to eat, ordering, and eating was not what either of us wanted to do.

What’s your favorite travel snack or tip?

24 Comments

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

Twice Over

Heyyy kids! We’ve made it another lovely week, almost with 100% beautiful weather! But, of course – Vermont has this thing where it can’t give us too much beauty, so it dumps rain and snow (!!) for the weekend. Joy.

That being said, I woke up and pumpkin oats didn’t sound so bad after all!

En Zee Base:

Annnnnd topped with:

  • flax-chia icing
  • crystallized ginger
  • chopped cashews
  • chopped dates
  • PB & Co Cinnamon Raisin PB
  • and a mixture of frozen cranberries, chopped banana, and raisins simmered in a bit of almond milk and a touch of sizzurp.

Perfectly accompanied by Timothy’s Sugar Bush Maple coffee.

Gotta say – not sure how much I was feelin’ the pumpkin oats this morning once it was all said and done! The texture kind of got to me – I’ve always had a “thing” about the texture the pumpkin gives to oats, and I think since it’s been so long since I’ve had them, I wasn’t quite ready for it 😉 Good flavor, no less. The lovely Serena reminded me I ought to make muffins with the pumpkin – perfect timing! I’m almost all out of banana-date oat bran muffins, and they make such a great snack that I ought to make more this weekend. Thanks, Serena!

Speaking of banana-date oat bran muffins, that was of course part of my morning snack, paired with some honey-roasted almonds and a couple of organic dried apricots. I love the Blue Diamond Oven Roasted line of almonds – so good! I can’t seem to find the vanilla bean ones anywhere, though! Jealous of anyone who can find them. Hook a girl up!

Does anybody follow my obsessions and wonder “Hey, what the heck happened to her ______ obsession?” I think it’s funny to look back at them all. Remember the granola crisps addiction? (Actually – that’s still there. I just have been trying to cut back on the intake – I have them “after hours” a lot :P) Quick cookies? Wraps?

So – about that weather? Uh, Yeah – we’re forecasted for snow and rain this weekend! I’m fairly confident in saying it’s snow for the higher elevations only, but really?! I’m supposed to be on top of a mountain, photographing a horse show on Sunday! Outdoors! Unfortunately, that won’t be happening if it’s raining and gross. Pictures don’t come out good, and equipment gets ruined. Just not worth it! Luckily, it is a smaller show – held at the barn I used to ride at – and is mainly just the kids that ride there. Even if I don’t go to photograph, I’ll probably drop by and watch for a bit.

Lunch was a lot like this…

Would you like some bread with your eggplant sandwich?

Last night for lunch, I sauteed some eggplant, roasted red peppers, and spinach in a bit of balsamic. I packed it along with two slices of the bread my mom picked up for me, some feta cheese, hummus, and sundried-tomato & pepita pesto to, once again – panini at work. I make my co-workers jealous lately.

Paired with my last [until tomorrow] plum, and an Oikos caramel yog. And I had to round out the meal with a small raw cookie and a date ball, of course.

Afternoon snack? Pick a bar, any bar…

Hypocritical of me, based on my recent anti-soy rants? Yes. But,as mentioned – I’ve got a stock pile of bars, and I’m not so paranoid that I’m going to throw them all away! I am just avoiding excessive consumption. At least the Iced Oatmeal Raisin Luna is tasty, even if the sugary coating does get a bit overpowering after a couple bites. I’ll eat just about anything cinnamon-oatmeal-raisin-y!

I’m instating a no-more bar buying rule until all the “bad” ones are weeded out. I should be good for…a couple months. I’m definitely not banning myself from making date balls and raw cookies, though 🙂

After being freezing cold all day (and still!) I was ready for a warm meal once home. I’d taken out some salmon from the freezer before I left this morning, and as the day wore on I was waffling between pesto salmon or blueberry salmon, but then started thinking – why not cranberry salmon? So – I did up the cranberries twice today. And boyyy, was it fantastic!

While I prepared a serving of bulgur, I seasoned a salmon filet with just a bit of salt, pepper, chili powder and garlic, and got some color on it on both sides before adding to it a glaze of:

  • 1/3 c. frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 t. raspberry dijon mustard
  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 t. pure maple syrup

(approximate measurements) Allow to cook over low heat until thickened a bit. Add some kale to the bulgur and allow to wilt. When the bulgur and kale is ready – add to the pan with the salmon, and allow everything to meld.

Serve with cashews, of course!

It’s been a while since I’ve had salmon – this hit the spot! I’ve finally (the past two times) got the ticket to cooking salmon just enough. I used to always overcook it justttt enough so that it was walking the fine line between just right and too dry. No more!

But – brrr! I’m off to brew some tea or coffee and keep huddled under blankets – my fingers are getting cold with this typing!! I hope everyone’s got exciting weekend plans?!

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway! I’ll be posting the winner Sunday morning, before I leave for the show (if it happens). So – make sure you take advantage of being able to enter three times, and do it up before Sunday!

11 Comments

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

A Good-Bad Influence

Hiiii, chickpeasss! One day closer to Friday and the weekend – the countdown’s begun! Unfortunately, I’d almost rather rewind to Monday – we’ve had gorgeous weather all week, but tonight, dreariness rolls in. Go figure – I’m supposed to photograph a horse show on Sunday! That doesn’t happen in the rain. But, that’s Sunday, lets get back to the pure amazing that was today, shall we?

This morning ended up being the result of a little bit of everything! I had a plum that needed to be used, but only half of it was salvageable. I also craved red raspberries! Yet…I could only break off a small chunk of the frozen solid mass (anyone is more than welcome to ship me a plethora of fresh red raspberries, p.s. 🙂 ) and so I made up for the lack with some frozen blueberries. What can’t blueberries save?!

On the bottom (said in a British accent, please):

On the top: (still British)

  • chia-flax icing
  • toasted slivered almonds
  • little bit of toasted coconut
  • chopped dates
  • Dundee’s Ginger Preserves
  • some of the best PB ever
  • and a compote-esque mixture of bloobs, raspberries, and plum simmered in some almond milk and a drizzle of sizzurp.

Not sure what “the best PB ever” is? Five words: Naturally Nutty, White Chocolate Coconut. It will change your life. Know what else will change your life? Silk PureAlmond original almond milk. They didn’t have Silk at the co-op, so I tried a new brand: Pacific Organics. No, it’s not bad. But I’ma thinkin’ Silk’s got a slight edge.

And more calcium! Never a bad thing for us chickies. (although, geek note: Silk has more calcium, less vit. D. Pacific Organics = less calcium, more vit. d…isn’t calcium absorption highest when accompanied by vitamin D?) Silk is also a bit creamier, and doesn’t get chunky in my cawfee. And it’s a whole heck of a lot easier to pour. Yes, I find the strangest things to pick at. But let’s be real – if I have to spill half the milk just to pour some into a cup, it’s not too convenient, eh?

Moving on, this bowl was accompanied with some Timothy’s Sugar Bush Maple coffee.

I was all set to go to class when my Mom mentioned a horseback ride and how she wished she had someone to go with since this would be her last nice-weather day off. Oh, how she wished I didn’t have to go to school, and maybe I should stay home because I have the bug. Yeah – I’ve got a bug all right. It’s called horse fever! I’m not kidding – she totally talked me into it. Bad influence, mom! But a good one, methinks. She did ask if we would be doing anything, and in all honesty – I have a paper that’s due for it Tuesday, and otherwise we do just about nothing in that class. Figured I could miss it…I deemed it “working from home” while we waited for it to warm up. Are you easily influenced by other people, or do you always march to the beat of your own drum, so to speak?

While Ms. Kitty sunbathed and gave the illusion it was 70 degrees out, I worked on stuff due Tuesday for my family violence class, and even managed to put together a couple paragraphs for the class I would have gone to this morning. So, I don’t feel too bad! Since I woke up and went about most of the morning with the “I have class today,” mindset, it was easy to be productive, rather than mess around online and such.

Although – I did make time to browse through a new cookook, too:

No, I’m not vegan…but I love veggie cookbooks, and I’d heard a bunch of good things about Veganomicon. I’ve already determined that it’s right up there with Moosewoods’ Cooking for Health. I also purchased the Moosewoods Simple Suppers, and had the intent for only that one, until amazon said if I spent $4 more, I’d have free shipping. Leave it to me to spend $20 more just to get free shipping. (heh, only sort of – when I saw they recommended Veganomicon I remembered all the raves and decided to just go that route!)

Before I knew it, it was 10:00 already…if my stomach hadn’t already been asking for a snack, I would have guessed it was hardly 9:00! I’m telling you…no matter what, I am always ready for something between 10 and 10:30. It’s a little bit ridiculous.

To quote my mother: “Hey…do you think you’ll like this bread? It was on bakery markdowns for $1…it’s got a lot of seeds and stuff, I thought of you.”

haha – she’s too cute!

And has a killer eye for good bread! It’s great! I honestly have no idea what kind of bread it is – all the label says is “Bakery Markdown – 50% off” and there aren’t even ingredients. But it is SO, so good! You can see all sorts of grains & nuts when you cut into it, and check out the bottom! I opted for a snack of toast with a nuked banana, mashed with some cottage cheese, cinnamon, and maple syrup.

huzzah, huzzah!

It goes without saying that I of course grabbed a date ball while I was up, and then we were off for our ride!

And a great ride it was – I had a serious blast. And Jiggy was definitely feelin’ fresh, too! He double-checked my stickability a couple times. He “just wants to play sometimes!” as I put it. I love the ones with spunk 🙂 He was definitely tuckered by the time we got home, though – as was I! We ended up riding for just under 2 hours. It was 12:30 by the time we got back!

My mom and I were both more than ready for lunch, so I made us some pesto paninis. The other huge plus about that bread? The perfect size!

I’m a fan of the mini loaf, for certainly. In my panini was sundried-tomato & pepita pesto, garlic lovers hummus (yes, using two similar spreads was necessary), garlic and herb feta cheese, tomato slices, and some eggplant and spinach that I had sauteed with some balsamic vinegar.

This. was. killer. Pure heaven. To add to the heaven-like feeling?

Caramel oikos paired with the other half of my banana and a cherry-orange date ball. Died and went to heaven. Yep.

The afternoon consisted of moseying around, playing in the sunshine, browsing new recipes, and just plain enjoying life. I’ve been in such an amazing mood lately – and honestly, I credit it purely to having ridden so much this week. Well, that, and obviously being surrounded by supportive people. Sure, I haven’t been much of a socialite this semester – but on that same note, I feel like I’ve never been this continuously upbeat, optimistic, and excited for each day (well…most days…I still dislike school, but still love life, haha). I think I had a lot of negative energy last semester, and now I’m just free of it all 🙂

Whoa, didn’t mean to get all heartfelt and mushy on you guys, haha. Is there anything that you think makes you happier than anything else in the world? I guess I can’t narrow it down to one – but being back home has done wonders for me – I’ve got a great relationship with my mom, a job I love, and lately – horses!

I’ve noticed lately I’m developing a relatively serious cashew addiction. Lately my dried fruit and nut addiction has actually multiplied by five hundred with all the date balls I’ve been processing up, but these Sahale Snacks Cashews are safe from date balls 😉 They’re far too good (and maybe too easy) consumed alone! The planters jar I purchased this past weekend, not so much. Sure, I’m all out of dates – but I’m also almost out of date balls! What’s a girl to do when she’s got the processin’ bug?

The answer seemed obvious to me: make a small batch of  Averie’s raw cookie dough balls, of course! I have a serious problem, I think I should come clean to you guys: I can’t get enough of these types of snacks. I think I enjoy making them as much as I enjoy eating them, though – reason why I only make a couple at a time! haha.

All together, with pretzel crisps and some almond mozzarella.

I opted for the cinnamon raisin variety, and they’re not true raw – I used maple syrup, omitted the agave & vanilla, and added cinnamon, raisins, and some flax seeds. Who’d ever think cashews, oats, maple syrup, cinnamon, raisins, and flax seeds could taste so good? They even get the mother seal of approval.

Dinner was stewed over all afternoon, and I finally settled on a Veganomicon inspiration of Pumpkin Saag.

I was a little uneasy how this would turn out. I used canned pumpkin rather than a “real” pumpkin – and I had no  idea how much to use in relation to halving “3 pounds,” haha. I also added tempeh to the mix. Created by sauteeing onions and minced garlic in some olive oil, to which I added 1/2 c. pumpkin puree, as well as cubed tempeh. Seasoned with salt, garam masala, cinnamon and a dash of curry powder, and thinned a bit with some water and almond milk. Drizzled in a wee bit o’ honey, and then some chopped broccoli raab and baby spinach – cover, and let wilt. After “combined” well – add some lime juice, and if your a cashew addict like myself, top with some chopped cashews. Served with a whole grain naan for pure delicious.

Really – I know it looks rather terrifying – actually, I thought it was going to turn into mega fail shortly after I began…but this was phenommm. Paired with the soft whole grain naan – which, I was able to grill (!!! loved the flavor from it!) – it was pure heaven. Must. make. again.

And now I have a tupperware of pumpkin. I’m a little afraid with the fruit craze I’ve been going through lately, though – I’m not gonna want pumpkin oats! oooh – pumpkin yogurt?!

As a random question – what’s one healthy food you feel like you “should” love because everyone else does – yet you don’t? I noticed so many recipes that call for cucumbers lately – and I just think cucumbers are so boring! I don’t dislike them, but don’t bother buying them, haha. That and avocados. Not too much of a fan – but I don’t think I mind them “hidden” in foods like the tempeh gyro I made 🙂

14 Comments

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

Three-Sixty

Oh heyyyyyyy, there, babehluhvs! I’m back in full swing more than ever 🙂 No more bleh-ness allowed, but thanks for letting me get it out of my system! haha.

I felt fine other than my funky mood last night, and was a leetle worried when I woke up that today’s weather was going to impede my mood even more. While I love sleeping to the soothing sound of rain on the roof, doesn’t it make waking up so difficult?! If I didn’t have a midterm to fail successfully complete, I’m not so sure I would have rolled out of bed for my 9:30 class.

Pumpkin-Nanne Oats: Traditional, Simple, and Comforting - they fit the bill for a mellow morning!

Usually just the thought of breakfast motivates me out of bed – but this morning I was so cozy in my big puffy down comforter, my Mouse-man sleeping by my feet, the sounds of the pitter-patter rain drops, and the lack of daylight peaking through my window that I could hardly decide on how I wanted my oats! I just knew they had to utilize pumpkin.

I was infatuated with this color palette. Isn't it so warm and soothing?

Old Faithful also incorporated a new guest. Remember my giant Bob’s order weeks ago? Well I’ve been working with the Barley and the Spelt only – and now that I’m 3/4s of the way through those bags, I figured it’d be best to introduce a new cereal.

Bob's Red Mill 5 Grain Rolled Cereal + Flaxseed: rolled whole wheat, rye, oats, flaxseed, barley, and triticale.

Nothing too out of the ordinary, but being the graniac I am, I was excited to break into a new cereal.

The base for the morning was:

-equal parts oat bran and Bob’s 5 grain Rolled Hot Cereal, 1 T. wheat bran

almondmilk and brewed coffee

handful of trail power, approx. 1/2 T. chia seeds, golden raisins

pumpkin puree and half a sliced ripe banana

nutmeg, cinnamon, ground clove, and a light drizzle of maple syrup

Topped with:

-pumpkin chia icing (I forgot the acai powder)

-milled golden flax

-golden raisins, crystallized ginger, PB&Co Cinnamon Raisin PB

-a couple of Yogi Cinnamon Raisin granola crisps

-and a sauteed mixture of half a diced banana, spoonful of pumpkin, drizzle of maple syrup, and almondmilk.

And a side of Green Mountain Rain Forest Nut.

In case you couldn’t tell – I just couldn’t get over how cozy these warm tones made me feel!

I loved the new cereal combo! They got nice and fluffy and had a nice chewy texture. Much like regular oats, really – but better! Loving the 5 grams of protein, and that it’s got flaxseed. I love you, Bob…

Eventually, I got ready for class. This involved a drastic mood change, which involved doing the Ellen dance around my kitchen to Justin Timberlake’s new song. I am not a mainstream music fan but had Fuse on to get into the groove. Why did JT all of a sudden make me feel overjoyed enough to do the Ellen dance while Kaia watched me, perplexed? I’m not sure, but I’m glad it happened. Everyone should do the Ellen dance around their kitchen every so often. I won’t say it should be to JT though, because that probably won’t happen again.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this helped me to pass my midterm any better, but it may have been the reason behind my ridiculously amazing (not to sound conceited or anything) chickpea patties. Although – I’m not so sure patties is the correct term, since I think they’re better without bread. I dunno.

After getting home – I made up a snack.

I thought I wanted cold. Yogi Crisps, mango, greek yog w/ agave & chai spice.

…but then I had a change of heart. I needed warm. Hmmm…

The remedy? Add some almond milk, some instant oats, and nuke 'er!

mmm….that’s moe’ bettah’.

I'm just a lagging Larry - slow to jump on the Agave train.

So, I realize Agave is widely known, yaddah yaddah. Well, I just bought it Saturday for my first time, and tried it today! I always have just used honey for sweetness, or maple syrup. I was too cheap to buy good maple syrup the other day, and have been meaning to try Agave anyways. I always thought it was way more similar to honey than it is. I love it! New addict.

You've all probably seen this before. Hey, I love product labels!

I did, however, take a while waffling between amber and light agave. Which do you use?! Is there a big difference?

After this, I of course set to work on my patties.

These patties were brainstormed last night, that’s how ready I was. If you want to know my thought process, I’ll tell you, because it’s funny how my mind works. Since you probably don’t care because I tend to ramble, I’m not offended and picture yums will continue soon!

These were supposed to be pumpkin-black bean burgers. That, however, got me thinking of the Cook’s Mission and what I was going to do. Hey – black bean apricot burgers? with pumpkin? Maybe? Hmmm. Or chickpea. I was pretty adamant about the pumpkin though, so you better believe I waffled all night and all through my midterm. I’m not joking. I probably failed my midterm because of apricots, pumpkins, and beans. What can I say? I should just be going to culinary school. Regardless – Chickpeas randomly came into play and amazingness ensued. But – how did they fair with a real taste tester, you ask?

I made sure my mom tried one as soon as she walked in the door! Luckily, she’s a willing tester, even though she’s far from a health foodie. She’s ms. “I hate the taste of whole grains and can eat all day without gaining a pound.” Love her. But – she does like chickpeas, and she did love these patties! Score. She couldn’t quite put her finger on the flavor that was in there, but after I told her it made sense and she went about enjoying it. If she didn’t like it – she would have given it to me. Won one over!

Even though it looks like that’s what I had for lunch, by the time I finished them it was only noon-thirty and after having eaten my fair share *la hem* taste testing the chickpea mixture prior to baking, I was not hungry, so I just ate the portions that got coated with the sauce. So really, by day just consisted of a bunch of really good snacks/small meals. Hey, maybe I’m not the picture of perfect eating lately, but oh well.

If these aren't the cutest things you've ever seen, I want to know what is.

what does one do when they’ve only got sandwich and bagel thins, wraps, pitas, and minature but delicious homamade english muffins and an egg sandwich is being called for?

Why, make mini egg mcmuffins, of course! Sure – these muffins were made more tiny than tiny. But you know what? I swear they taste better by the day. I think the nuttiness of Spelt gets moreso over time – I noticed the same thing with my spelt-crust calzone! Love. It. This is a new favorite snack as of late, though – so it’s almost like the miniature size was an unconcsious intentional mistake 🙂

Microwaved egg w/ garlic salt & peppah, almond cheese, hummus, and a toasted whole wheat-spelt muffin w/ some olivio. To die.

What's this - oat bowl number fifty, or fifty six?

I have a confession. Actually – based on this picture – I have a couple.

1. I am a Yogi granola crisps addict. These things are to die for. If you find them – get them. Or, if you’re concerned you’ll become addict, don’t. Instead, get every package in sight. Most likely because you will be addicted before you know it.

2. I tend to freeze baked goods and forget about them – even when they taste like a little piece of heaven. Whassat, a AB&J Bran muffin? uhhh, yeahsa. Hey – I do it intentionally…they make for good surprises! And, this tasted just like it did the day it was so lovingly baked.

3. I’ve also noticed an intense cinnamon-raisin craze over the course of today’s eats. What can I say?!

Dinnah-time.

Obviously, chickpea patties were on the menu for dinner. I couldn’t decide on how to serve them – on bread? No…plain. But with what?  And then I got the mail:

Dear Jess,

When have I ever failed you?

Love, Broccoli.

Broccoli. And I could saute it with some mango, and add in the flavors already incorporated into the patties & sauce. So – I did! Broc, mango, drizzle balsamic, lemon pepper, salt, garam masala, nutmeg, drizzle EVOO, drizzle honey mustard. Ooooh, this was good.

And dessert followed shortly after.

Pumpkin Yogurt - Galaxy Granola - Granola Crisps - Cottage Cheese - Agave - Raisins.

And obviously, there was cinnamon in there, too. The pumpkin yogurt was a stellar combo of pumpkin, yog, some chia seeds, almond milk, some acai powder, and agave, seasoned with cinn & nutmeg.

Oh, and honey apple buttah!

And that’s ’til now! Obviously, I didn’t have class tonight. It was quite nice to have a lazy day – I admit I was completely useless today, but when the weather is like this, it feels kinda nice! Do you like to enjoy a lazy day every so often, or do you feel “guilty” when you do? I used to feel guilty (and started getting really antsy by the time 3:30 rolled around! Luckily – it was nice neough to go outside and play with the ponies for a little while)

I’m also in the process of ordering more chia seeds but feel this could be quite dangerous. Should we place bets on how much I actually order compared to what I intend to order? Sometimes health food suppliers are just too much fun!

I hope everyone has a great night! Catch ya lataaa.

13 Comments

Filed under all natural, almond milk, beans, breakfast, broccoli, chia seeds, cooking, dinner, food blog, foodblog, greek yogurt, health, health blog, health food, healthy eating, healthy living, lunch, nut butter, oatmeal, oats, pumpkin, recipe, snack, vegetarian, whole grains