Tag Archives: spaghetti squash

Not What it Seems

Wow.

It seems an overwhelming portion of you have been also chased by a man bearing a chainsaw. I feel not-so-alone now! That doesn’t make me enjoy Halloween any more, however.

It was a chilly one this morning! I didn’t much care for getting out of bed.

…but the promise of overnight oats and hot coffee makes everything better! I’ve had a question or two as to how I make my overnight oats.

  • 1/2 a ripe banana (or other fruit that can be mashed, like a peach, strawberries, pear)
  • 1/2 c. almond milk
  • 1/3 c. quick oats (or 1/4 c. quick oats, and the rest old fashioned)
  • 1 t. chia seeds
  • cinnamon (a hefty portion!)

The night prior I mash the banana up with the oats, cinnamon, and chia seeds, and then stir in the almond milk. In the morning, I stir in a spoonful of vanilla or plain Chobani – but to make it vegan, just stir in coconut milk yogurt or soy yogurt! Sometimes I’ll add some protein powder the night before, too. Just sort of depends what I’ve got on the cards for the day, I guess!

The rest of my day isn’t as it seems.

What do I mean by that? Well, take, for instance, these figs. I don’t know what I was thinking packing them, as I know I need more of a morning snack than two lone figs.

Luckily, my boss brought in a bunch of apples he’d picked with his kids this weekend, so these figs turned into a baked apple with figs and cinnamon. Chop up that apple, chop up those figs, stir in some cinnamon, and nuke for a minute and you’ve got yourselves a mug (well, in my case) of pure delicious.

Continuing on, pictured is just a plain sandwich with red onion and baby spinach. Yes, I packed more – tempeh and rosemary sauce, to be exact – I just didn’t feel like taking a picture of another container. But, I added to that mix, a few apple slices and panini’d it all up. So yum!

I didn’t mention yesterday that I made another loaf of bread – honey oatmeal wheat, to be exact. Again. It’s a good recipe! But – again, it fell. Dude, what am I doing wrong?! I even follow the recipe now. I can’t wait to bake my next (or very soon!) loaf by hand.

Raw, these carrots tasted…wrong. The solution? Throw on the panini press and smother in yellow mustard. Success. My mustard craving was sort of creeping in there.

This white nectarine was just as delicious as it looks and sounds. I love white flesh peaches and nectarines!

I made these cashew birdseed bars a bit too dry in attempts to cut back on sugar. The first couple days they were still good, but by now they’re just a bit too dry. The solution? Dollop with some pear-almond jam that I keep in the fridge at work!

I’m telling ya – there’s a quick fix for everything!

…and I am 99% sure that things eaten hot and out of bowls are 99% better than things eaten on plates. Too bad they’re always ugly!

However, I quite enjoyed the last of my scalloped tomatoes over the last of my (current) spaghetti squash. It was a match made in heaven!

And now, I’m off. I’ve got senior portraits I’m still going through, as well as orders to put together that came through!

What are your quick fixes for things that turn out not as good as you’d hoped?

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Accident Waiting to Happen

I am practically an accident waiting to happen today.

Ever since 10:30 last night, I’ve been dreaming up what my project is going to consist of for our first photo assignment. Seriously – why do creative vibes always come at the least convenient of times? I was thisclose to popping out of bed right then but knew if I actually went through with what I was thinking, I wouldn’t get to bed until after midnight.

Not late for some people, but when you wake up at 5:30,6 it is.

I couldn't focus my camera this morning to save my soul...but at least I bought a new flash diffuser today!! Regardless - this was a divine bowl of mashed banana overnight oats, with a plum, maple syrup, cashews, and peanut butter sauce. Yum!

So of course all the while I drove to and from work today, guess what I was thinking. I was actually a little concerned for my own safety for once. I really need to work on that.

It didn't help that it was such a dreary day...as I was getting dressed I saw Mouse made himself at home in my bed. He really made me want to crawl back into it!!

Maybe I’ll play around with it tonight. I bought a new flash diffuser and an infrared remote today which will make my life easier 🙂

The best. wrap. ever. Pesto wrap with roma tomato, garlic hummus, feta, and mozz.

Another interesting portion of my nutrition reading that I was doing yesterday involved the body and its food. You’ll probably all read this and think, “d’uh, Jess,” but for some reason – I’ve never thought of food in this way, and it just made so much sense to me! But, basically, it talked about the energy that the body gets comes indirectly from the sun. Plants capture the sun’s energy so well, right? Well – when we eat those plants, we get that energy to use and store! It works the same way when you eat animal tissue – though a little more indirectly since they’re like us in that they get it from the plants (…who get it from the sun.)

Vanilla chobani with dried figs and banana.

So, lately while I’ve been eating my veggebulls, I’ve been thinking about the power the sun gives me 😉 It also made me really question the low-carb, low-fat diets…I mean – they are the most important when it comes to energy! I know everyone differs so I’m not going to make a blanket statement…but it just confirms my love of the carb 😉

homemade CRACKuhs.

Anyways. I’ll stop regurgitating information to you now. Although, I do wanna share some new stuffs I’ve started taking. I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately and looked into getting some multivit and calcium supplements. In the past I’ve sort of been of the belief that all of this can be achieved through a sound diet – but food lately, even whole, has become much less nutritious than it used to be. And really, I don’t have many foods that are calcium-rich, anyways.

I stumbled upon various different supplements, and finally settled on these from Peter Gillham: Organic Life Vitamins and Osteo Calm.

Let me prelude this by saying I am a five-year old at heart and would prefer gummy vitamins, drinkable vitamins, or something fun rather than something to swallow. Otherwise I’ll just forget.  But hey, that’s okay!

The Liquid Revolution

No matter how good the vitamin or mineral supplements are that you start with, they are only as good as they are bioavailable. Supplements must be absorbed and assimilated into the bodyand be available at the proper area in order to be of use. All pills and capsules have to dissolve into liquid form before they can be absorbed and assimilated. Some people with weaker digestive systems (and digestive ability often weakens with age) don’t fully break these down and the result is only partial or no absorption, so the pill or capsule doesn’t do much, if any, good.

I wouldn’t say that that statement is 100% true, only because it makes it sound like pills are a waste. In reality, a good pill will break down in your system just fine!

Because it contains so many nutrients, you won’t have to purchase and take numerous pills and capsules in order to give your body what it needs to stay active and healthy. And, unlike pills, Organic Life Vitamins contains no binders and fillers. The original Organic Life Vitamin formula blends the finest ingredients including organic ACTIValoeTMwhole-leaf aloe vera, organic noni juice, multiple vitamins, ConcenTrace® trace minerals, a full range of amino acids, antioxidants, OptiMSM® MSM and chromium picolinate. The improved formula enhances the original formula with an additional 24 whole food antioxidant veggies, superfruits, berries and fruits including acai, mangosteen, goji berry and organic pomegranate. [click]

And the other, OsteoCalm.

We hear a lot about calcium and how important it is to our bones. But what we don’t hear is that the balance of calcium and magnesium is a critical factor not only to bone health but to overall health in general. Magnesium helps the body absorb and transport calcium into the bones and makes bones stronger and more flexible. Approximately 50 percent of total body magnesium is found in bone.

There you have it, folks. I am not condoning the use nor commending the use of dietary supplements…rather, putting this out there. From what I’ve read and had I can say they seem to be a great option for someone looking into starting on a supplement – but to each his own! (footnote: don’t believe the “lovely taste,” claim – they’re not gross, but they’re not lovely, either!)

And, lastly – I was glad to have leftovers for dinner so that I could get right to finishing my business homework afterwards! I loved this Mexicana spaghetti squash, tropical salsa, cornbread and corn on the cob (which was right from our garden!) I think everything was even better the second time around 😉

Do you take any vitamins? Why or why not?


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Another Weekend Down

I think weekends off are going to start being the norm 😉 Even though blogging never feels like a chore to me – it was nice to take a break…namely because of all the work I had lined up! Okay – so there wasn’t actually a ton of work lined up, but I shot a senior portrait yesterday and going through them all lasted all night/into today. Especially since we had such gorgeous weather yesterday and going through them kept getting delayed!

Since the shoot wasn’t until 10, I had some time to kill at home before I had to leave at 9. This was done best by some serious yoga! It’d been far too long, and it felt so good…especially this morning 😉 Teddie play time took place afterwards and then I had some other shenanigans to tend to until I finally made it home.

Today was a bit of a dreary day, and I didn’t get to make it out to see Teddie.  The weather was a large factor – I really wanted to work with the ponies here before it rained this afternoon, and I didn’t think the weather would hold out for both Teddie and taking “the girls” on a walk down the road! Add to that some schoolwork, and I just stayed home.

It was nice to stay home and not have tons of work to do like we’ve been doing – just the usual caring for the horses! Without further uh-doo: my weekend in a nutshell!

Of course you knew there’d be waffles. In classic cold-month tradition, I brought back the act of sauteeing the fruit on top. Remember when I always did this for my hot oats?! Lately I’ve been nuking the fruit just for the sake of time – and so I forgot how much of a [wonderful] difference there was when you take the time to sautee. I usually just start simmering my fruit of choice in some almond milk an a drizzle of maple syrup or honey before starting my oats or waffles. Usually by the time I’m done it thickens a bit and gets just like a pie filling!

This was pear sauteed in almond milk, maple syrup, raisins, and cinnamon…

…and this morning’s carrot cake waffles were a little less aesthetically appealing but just as delicious – grated carrot and half a peach sauteed in almond milk and maple syrup with some raisins, as well.

This accidentally ended up being lunch yesterday. I figured I’d get home a little later than usual, so grabbed this 9 Bar sent to me from across the pond by the lovely Nicky because it was the “biggest” bar I had – protein, cal, and carb wise. Little did I know I wouldn’t get home until 3…but it did so well keeping me full I wasn’t even hungry when I got home. And, well, Dunkin Donuts was calling to me…they were in the gas station I stopped at for free air since my tires needed some. Caffeine was necessary 😉

As a side-note: does anyone else get a kick out of putting air in your tires, reading the pressure gauge and all, all by yourself while guys stare like they’e never seen a girl inflating her tires before? No? Oh…

Oh, yeah – back to the bar. I had the original 9 bar this time. You may remember when I raved about the pumpkin – and this was just as impressive. I was skeptical when I first saw how much carob coating it had, but it ended up not being a turn-off at all! It was sweet, nutty, seedy, and perfection all in one. And don’t forget how long it kept me satisfied for! I think they call it a 9 bar because a normal person could stay full from it for 9 hours. Too bad I’m not normal, though it’s still an impressive feat considering I eat just about every two hours.

I want to move to the UK…you guys have the best bars and snackage!

Today, though, lunch was a bit more proper, with the assemblage of my newest favorite wrap-ish ever. I even made one for my mom! Nuked sundried tomato pesto wrap with garlic hummus, italian herb mozz, feta, and fresh tomato slices. omnomnom.

Due to yesterday’s subpar lunch, however – hunger struck all of a sudden and I needed dinner fast! Enter: my beloved broccoli bowls. This one starred roasted broccoli, roasted carrots, garlic hummus, fresh tomato, feta and scrambled eggs (2 eggs, almond milk, sundried tomatoes, mozzarella, tomato, salt, and pepper). I actually sort of bombed at making the scrambled eggs since I added fresh tomato to that, too, making them too watery – but they still tasted delicious. Or I was just really hungry.

It’s anybody’s guess.

With the colder weather, we’re trying to get everything in out from the garden. I’ve got more spaghetti squash than I’d bargained for and quite a few tomatoes and ears of corn! As excited I was about having red peppers out the wazoo – I didn’t get more than that one mini one 😦

While I was reading the bible looking for recipes this afternoon, my mom brought in a very suspicious package. (I realize ther’es no mail on Sundays – we forgot yesterday!)

If I didn’t know what was inside I would have been uneasy about this sticky brown substance oozing from my mail. I knew it was just a harmless coffee grinder!

Hah! Syyyyke! I apologize for the poor photography – but this was not a time to bring my prize to the window to photograph. The sink was where this belonged!

…but what is it, you ask?! Date syrup. Or at least, I’m pretty sure – that’s what Mo and I had arranged for, at least – but everything was too coated in brown sludge for e to be totally sure 😛 Does anyone else think the parcel workers were up to some shenanigans for this one? I mean – this is how I found it. How does the cover get completely unscrewed and wind up next to it?! Especially since I’m (assuming) there was some sort of seal on it, anyways.

A letter?! To me?! All I could make out was “spoon to get syrup.” I think that’s what made me most sad – I love reading the notes!!

Don’t make fun of my finger, I was trying to not get it all over me! haha. Needless to say, none of it was salvageable 😦 I actually almost kept licking my fingers (I mean – doesn’t everybody do that when they’re cooking and get syrup/pb/whatever on their fingers?) out of habit and then remembered that probably wasn’t a good idea.

Mo – now I’m afraid you’ll have a pumpkin explosion on your hands! TI hope the food Gods aren’t upset with me for smuggling all of Vermont’s canned pumpkin out of the state. For everyone concerned, Libby’s has you all wrapped around their little finger. There is no such thing as the pumpkin shortage. They just don’t know how to harvest pumpkins.

Surprisingly, my baking and cooking bug wasn’t in full swing today. Probably because I have a freezer ful of bran muffins? I decided chili was a good idea, and was thisclose to making Ashley’s Chili but when I saw the bible’s recipe for spaghetti squash mexicana I figured that was a good compromise of having chili and using a homegrown s’ghetti squash.

I still decided her cornbread was a must-make, though! It was heavenly. I made a few minor changes – spelt flour for the flour, a flax egg for the egg, mixed vegetables for the corn (I would have used corn if I’d had it! I actually really wanted to use corn and dried cranberries or peas and dried cranberries but I didn’t have dried cranberries. Would that have been weird?) and 2 T. pumpkin butter for the 2 T. sucanat. Don’t look at me like I’m crazy, you can’t taste it. Oh, and I just greased the bottom of the dish with butter rather than melting 2-3 T. in it.

So. ir. re. sist. uh. bull.

I had to read the first chapter for intro to nutrition, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to read for class. Right now it’s sort of “meh” just because it’s reiterating what I’ve been reading for a while now: what humans first existed on were basic foods. Vegetables, grains, meat – that kinds of things. Now, the public is greeted by tons of processed food, usually not in a good way, either. And yet – the food that remains most nutritious are those basic foods.

I decided to highlight what I found blog-worthy because otherwise if I highlight what sounds important, I end up highlighting everything. Does anyone else do that?! Anyways – this random thought stood out to me – the Healthy People 2010 Nutrition Objectives include increasing consumption of vegetables, one-third being dark green or orange. They didn’t offer an explanation, and I just found it sort of…odd. Why dark-green or orange? So I googled. Which turned out to be a difficult thing to google, and took a while…and finally relied on Yahoo Answers. Which is lame and not necessarily always accurate, but I’ll take what I can get:

Dark green and orange vegetables and fruit contain more vitamins and cancer-preventing antioxidants and should be a large part of your diet.

There you have it. I was really hoping for a long explanation. I was let down.

But at least the bible didn’t let me down. Why I don’t just rename my blog “A Tribute to Veganomicon,” I will never know. Enter: Spaghetti Squash Mexicana with Tropical Salsa.

I pretty much followed the recipe for the s’ghetti squash – but mixed up the salsa a bit. I will say – at first I wasn’t going to make it cause it sounded too weird. (tomato, pineapple/mango, avocado and cilantro? meh.) I was just gonna slice a tomato on top. But I’m so glad I did more! I mixed chopped garden tomato, dried pineapple, dried mango, dried cilanto, salt, green pepper, and lemon juice and let it chill while I made dinner. When I took it out I saw the other half of my peach from this morning and thought that would be perfect! So – the peach was peeled, chopped, and added. It made it perfect!

I ha it all with a big hunk of cornbread, plus seconds of everything 😉

So – how was your weekend?!

Strangest combination of foods you’ve had and loved?!

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Mustard and Liver

Okay, prefacing this post with a ohmygodsittinghasneverfeltsogood.

Maya!

Other than that, though – I had no idea that referring to yard sales/garage sales/lawn sales as “tag” sales was practically unheard of to most of you! To those of you wondering what a tag sale was, it’s the same thing as a lawn/yard/garage/barn/what-have-you sale. If you think about it, it makes sense. I mean, people aren’t selling their lawns, for Pete’s sake! If you still are scratching your heads as to what any of those sales are – well, it’s basically a Craigslist in real life. You know the saying one person’s trash is another person’s treasure? You can find all sorts of stuff – usually pretty useless (*cough*unless you had come to our rockin tag sale*cough*) and some random gems. Diamonds in the rough.

We tend to have…well, and accumulation of “extra stuff.” Clothes, appliances, furniture, gadgets, etc. So, why not put it on the front lawn and tag it with a price?!

Breakfast of Champions.

I’ve always found dialect to be pretty interesting. In Vermont, soft serve ice creams are commonly called cremees. Tell a friend from out of state that you want a cremee and I’ll bet $5 they’re thinking you’re being inappropriate. I think it’s more of a New England thing that a carbonated beverage = soda. Not pop. A sub, not a hoagie. My mom and other older adults  always says “idear” rather than idea, too.

Actually, I just got the hugest kick out of this map. I guess if I wanted everyone to understand me I should have said garage sale, huh? I won’t mention the fact that we don’t have a garage.

Topped with a plumcot, chopped dried fig, and peanut buttah icinggg.

I think I just found my entertainment for the night. I wish I could say I’m kidding, but I seriously keep getting distracted by this.

On a similar note, though, thanks to Natalie for telling me the difference between a pluot and a plumcot! I was ruminating (the “musing” definition, not the “chewing of the cud” definition) as to whether or not there was a difference and she shed some light on the subject. A plumcot is 75% plum and 25% apricot (a cross between a pluot and a plum) whereas a pluot was a 50-50 mix. I wasn’t sure if pluot vs. plumcot was another dialect thing 😛

However, we were not holding the tag sale again today. Well, we left some stuff out, but we had stuff to do. Better ways to enjoy the glorious whether, ya know? It’s actually pretty ironic that the beginning of last week I was almost complaining about Fall being upon us. Yesterday, today, and all of this week, however? Back to summer. Today was hot!!

My mom came with me to see Mr. Teddiekins, and I was glad because no-one was there so I didn’t feel so bad riding around in the meadows. I think he really loves it – he gets all cute and perky waiting to see what’s over the next hill, even if we’ve already discovered it 😛 We sort of just ride around all over with no real motive or even grace, really, but he’s having fun. And when Teddie has fun it’s hard for me to not have fun.

Actually, I take that back. He’d probably find being naughty fun, which I don’t.

Okay, I guess even when he's being naughty I have fun. Here is is trotting away with me and by the looks of the silly grin on my face I'm not too upset about it.

Anyways. I told my mom she has to ride him soon, or at least borrow one of A’s horses so we can go on more of a real trail ride. I’ve even been bouncing around the idea of Teddie and Georgie switching places for a little bit or permanently. I’ll see how it goes, though that doesn’t mean he’d be less of a favorite. Moreso, just more able to do what he likes rather than what he doesn’t 🙂

Sweet potato falafel, roasted red pepper, garlic and yogurt-tahini dressing

We stopped at the grocery real quick as my mom was in a crisis situation of having run out of creamer, so of course I picked up a few things, too. When we got home, we had a super quick lunch before running out once again, this time for a trail ride with Jigs and Mel.

Plumcot, Organic Valley Vanilla Yogurt, Carrot-Fig 'Nola Bar

And lunch was the last chance I had to sit down. Well, okay – I sat in the truck on the way to the barn this morning, and I sat on some horses – but the sitting on horses doesn’t really count. After that, the afternoon was spent engrossed in yard and horse work. And by engrossed, I mean that I got really gross. I had to hose down before dinner, I was so covered in sweat, grime, dirt, and…smell. Gosh, I’m so attractive sometimes.

I jest, I jest.

But dang did all of that work up an appetite! I mean, I snacked between as necessary, of course (including about ten apples. no idea why i was craving apples so badly. maybe the horses were sending me subliminal messages. and by ten i mean two or three) but I couldn’t wait for dinner.

It’s sort of evident because I became a little more photo-happy with my dinner than usual. It was just so pretty!

I completely forgot that I still had a quarter of a spaghetti squash in the fridge, but it caught my eye (buried behind other veg and goods) this morning and new it had to be used. Spaghetti squash is a ton of fun and quite delicious if you don’t compare it to spaghetti. Seriously – it’s nothing like it. Sure, it can be treated like it, but if you’re in for the same taste as that delicious carb, you will be in for a startling and sad surprise.

I also picked up some silken tofu recently thinking it’d be fun to use in smoothies, but still haven’t used it. I decided to use it in a sauce for my spaghetti squash, but I am definitely encouraging you all to tell me what you like to do with silken tofu because, I confess, it sort of scares me. I’ve also been wondering if tofu falls into the “okay soy” category? I know the fermented, non-GMO is okay…but I don’t think the soybeans in tofu are fermented? Someone enlighten me?

Anyways. This sauce was really really good. Here’s the goods:

Creamy Tomato-Pesto Sauce

  • 1/3 c. Silken Tofu (I guess that’s sort of a guess…but I think I used about 1/3 of a package that, according to the label, has 5 “servings”)
  • 2 t. Bella Sun Luci Sundried Tomato Pesto Sauce
  • 1 T. nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 of a large-medium tomato
  • 1/2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 small basil leaves
  • 1 T. roasted garlic hummus
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional, I just felt like I needed a little heat!)
  • garlic salt (I think I added almost the whole thing, no lie. Okay, lie.)

Blend it all until smooth and creamy and voila! Deerish. I think it’s safe to say that I love this pesto! And hey, look at this!

Tomatoes contain Lycopene, a phytochemical and proven antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body, and ounce per ounce sun dried tomatoes have 12 times the amount of Lycopene than a raw tomato!

Recent studies show that a tomato rich diet is associated with a reduced risk of certain conditions:

  • Prostate Cancer
  • Digestive Disorders
  • Breast, Lung and Cervical Cancers
  • Heart Disease

For the spaghetti squash, I microwaved as per usual and while that was goin’ on, sauteed a clove of garlic, a chopped tomato, and tempeh in a little bit of olive oil, and combined it all when the squash was done. Some sauce-age (hah! sausage!) over top and a beautifully grilled portabella to boot. And corn on the cob is back, too 😉

My dessert tonight was a bit different (and more fun!) than usual, and I just had to photograph it since I wasn’t all comfy yet, anyways. It was intended to be banana soft serve, but my blender couldn’t handle it so I just turned it into a banana smoothie with a frozen banana, vanilla chobani, strawberry-banana flax oil, and almond milk. I layered it with a chopped peach, wheat germ, and peanut butter.

On an unrelated note, I have been craving plain ol’ yellow mustard lately like nobody’s business. The way things are looking (and I’m just warning you) I’ll be eating a yellow mustard and tempeh sammie tomorrow. I wish I could say I was kidding, but I’m about to go make lunch and that’s the only thing that sounds remotely appealing. I know a lot of times our cravings are what our body needs – but what on earth does yellow mustard have or resemble that my body could want? Luckily (or not) for you guys, I can Google like the best of ’em:

Mustard is rich in vitamin B6- which is part of the B complex of vitamins.
Vitamin B6 is an essential component of the digestive process as it is required for the production of hydrochloric acid in your stomach and for the production of magnesium in our bodies( magnesium will also raise the levels of HCI (hydrochloric acid) in your stomach and aid in digestion.)

Without vitamin B6, B12 can never be functionalized properly and nor can iron since they work in conjunction with each other.

Eat more foods rich in vitamin B6 these items may include~ fish, brewer’s yeast, wheat bran, wheat germ, liver, cantaloupe, rice, eggs, oats, peanuts and walnuts.

There you have it!

I’m gonna go eat me some liver and rice now, I’ll catch you kids on the flip side. (or in a couple days when I’m over being sick from the liver.)

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Everybody Loves Herbs

Thank you all for the well wishes, storm stories, and plantain ideas! I picked up another plantain today to experiment with, as a matter of fact 🙂

I’m going to try to keep this short yet again, at least photo-wise. We still don’t have our wireless working. I really wish I knew even a little bit about computers, because then I may have at least a 50% chance of getting it to worked. Unfortunately, I am one of those people that just pretends to know the basic things like the difference between a hard drive and whatever else is important in a computer. Therefore, my shots at troubleshooting a wireless situation are nil.
Luckily, I know how to leech.
Not so luckily, that means uploading and waiting for photos to load rivals the pace of a snail, maybe if I’m lucky a turtle. So while I’m seriously jonesin’ to read about what is going on in all of your lives – it’s just not workin’ out for me. I promise I’m not ignoring any of you – I’m just really impatient, and even when I’m patient, the photos don’t load 😦 Maybe tonight will work out better – we’ll see!
But, moving on.

Oats were welcomed back this morning – in the form of apple cranberry oats.
The base:

  • 3 T. Kamut hot cereal, 1 T. peppy kernels, 1 T. wheat bran, 1 T. Ruth’s Chia Goodness (cran-ginger)
  • 1/2 c. water, 1/2 c. PureAlmond
  • drizzle maple syrup, cinnamon
  • 1/2 chopped gala
  • dried cranberries

And then topped with:

  • chia icing
  • chopped mixed nuts
  • Mighty Maple
  • and a chutney/compote ish thang of the rest of the apple and some dried cranberries, simmered with maple and almond milk.

After a long time away from each other, I can say that the love is still there – but I am excited to keep experimenting with waffles!

Need Saturday’s  funny story? I slept so late this morning that my mom actually came in and started poking the blanket to make sure I was alive. The funny part isn’t that this happened – the funny part is that it was still only 6:40 am.

Probably because we had a busy day ahead of us – of yard sailing, gardening, shopping, and spring-flinging. The yard sailing and spring flinging portion were relative fails, except for the library book sale. Yes, this is probably sad, but I found three cook books that I figured – for $1, why not?

And the gardening was also a huge success. First, though, we had lunch.

Bean & egg wrap with spinach, yellow pepper, garlic, and feta. My favorite bread was gone and I forgot to pull the second half of the loaf out of the freezer. Bummer. Wraps are still a large part of me, though, I do believe.

And then we gardened our lives away.  So far, we have planted:

  • eggplant
  • spaghetti squash
  • some other form of squash (butternut, maybe? acorn? not sure – my mom did it the other day)
  • lettuce (not sure what kind)
  • spinach
  • sweet corn
  • tomatoes: 1 yellow boy, 3 Romas, 2 Beefsteak, 3 Early Girls, 3 Jet Stars
  • basil
  • oregano
  • chives
  • parsley
  • red peppers
  • green peppers

oh and my blackberry bush 😉 Keep your fingers crossed that something decided to grow! I was so stoked to find roma tomatoes, and I think my mom was more excited to see the spaghetti squash plant than I was! I think I’d still like to get some more herbs – just because they’re so expensive to purchase fresh at the store, but cooking with fresh is so much more enjoyable than dried.

Anybody else growing green thumbs this year? Do tell what! I’d also like to grow kale, but I don’t think that’s until August or September.

Aaaaand, eventully it was dinner time. Speaking of spaghetti squash, I made us another spaghetti squash primavera with a boatload of random veggies from the fridge and some chickpea cutlets I still have left.

In there, you see fire-roasted diced tomatoes, fresh corn from the cob, portabella mushroom, yellow pepper, onion, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper. Well, and spaghetti squash, of course. I even saved some of the seeds to dry and try planting. I hope we can grow ‘sghetti squash. And eggplant. And red peppers. I want to roast my body weight in red peppers and have roasted red pepper, eggplant, hummus, and feta paninis for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not really, but it sounds nice.

But anyways. Here’s to hoping I can catch up on some of your lives tonight. Fill me in – any fun stories or memorial day celebrations? Is everybody grillin’? I picked up my portabella grillers today! And yes, I am switching back to calling them portabellas.

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Everybody Loves Herbs!

This may get a little boring – I’ll be honest, this isn’t  little blurb about some interesting health fact, some new food that is the cure-all…but instead just a fun little take on cooking with herbs! I mean, why not? I love health – but I also love cooking, and showing people that the two really can go together.

What helps that most?

Herbs, of course! Who wants to eat a bland, unseasoned dish? I’ve gotta say – I’ll hula hoop for fresh basil or garlic in a dish or on a sandwich, and I don’t hula hoop for anybody.

Fresh herbs have a much more vibrant taste and the right ones will enhance anything!  It is important to remember that fresh herbs must be kept cold, if you are purchasing them from the grocery store. It’s also important to make sure they are dry before you stow them away – if you store them when wet they are sure to spoil even more quickly! The finer you chop your fresh herbs, the more flavor they will release into the dish. Likewise, for the strongest flavor, add fresh herbs late in the cooking stage. Otherwise, the flavors may dissipate, and your expensive & delicious fresh herb flavor will be all for naught. One example where you may not want to do this is when you’re making a cold salad-like dish. In this instance, adding before refrigerating will allow them to mingle – flirt, if you will.

When it comes to dried herbs, you will have the most luck if you add them early in the cooking stage. The more heat, the more flavor they release. And make sure you keep your dried herbs sealed tightly! When properly contained, they can stay potent for six months to a year.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • You can easily dry your own herbs. Simply rinse, pat dry, and either hang to dry for 3-6 days, or lay out on some wire mesh for several days. You’ll know when they’re dry – they’ll crumble easily!
  • The worst place for herbs, spices, and seasonings is above the stove, where heat shortens their lives.
  • Shaking directly into a hot pot or pan is a no-go, too – steam could get trapped into the bottle and turn the herb/seasoning/spice moldy.
  • If your garlic clove is sprouting – go ahead and plant it for some garlic chives

What are some of your favorites? I loooove fresh basil, chives, cilantro, dill, garlic, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme – just to name a few! And I think this east coast grill spice mix sounds lovely with some chickpeas or sweet ‘taters – or to season a veggie burger! Simply combine 2 tablespoons each of: ground cumin, paprika with 1 tablespoon each of: crushed coriander seeds, ground ginger, and ground cinnamon in addition to 1 teaspoon each of: turmeric, ground red pepper, and dry mustard.

Any seasonings you wanna spill?

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    Great Dates

    One day closer to the weekend…one day closer to ponyville! I’m not excited or anything, hmm? 😉

    This morning, day off in mind, I lolly-gagged out of bed at the late hour of 6:20. I do what I can.

    …and in the kitchen went through a life-changing event. It was a little thing called Mighty Maple that triggered it. I finally broke into the PB & Co mighty Mapes that’s been hiding in my cupboard to replaced my beloved cinnamon raisin. I had high expectations, being the maple head I am. I mean, not just any maple is mapley enough to meet my expectations. Take Justin’s Maple…I could hardly even detect maple!

    The only way to induct such a nut butter would be through figgy apple oats. And so, the base for this morning consisted of:

    • 2 T. Bob’s Grains & Nuts, 3 T. Peppy Kernels, 1 T. Wheat Bran
    • 1/2 c. water, 1/2 c. PureAlmond
    • 3/4s of a small gala apple
    • 1.5 dried chopped Turkish figs
    • drizzle maple syrup
    • cinnamon
    • 1 T. chia seeds

    and then topped with:

    • chia-flax icing
    • honey roasted peanuts
    • PB & Co Mighty Maple
    • and a chutney of the rest of the apple and figs, simmered in some almond milk, cinnamon, and maple syrup.

    So, what did I think? Oh, I think I died and went to heaven. I don’t think PB & Co has disappointed me yet. And they’re pretty inexpensive. And I can buy them locally. I should just stick to PB & Co! What’s your favorite brand?

    It was so perfect that it reminded me immediately of my childhood days, when we would go out for ice cream, and share cones of homemade maple walnut ice cream. Yes, I realize that doesn’t make much sense considering the fact that we’re talking about peanut butter and not walnut butter – but just work with me here.

    I enjoyed the beauty of this bowl while contributing to Heifer International, by sipping on some Green Mountain Heifer Hope. Don’t get that twisted, though – I don’t hope to be a heifer.

    I comically watched an infomercial for the same blender I have (my blender/processor is really bad, guys – this infomercial makes it look like it’s a miracle, sent from heaven even) before getting my groove on. And by “groove” I mean getting groceries and an oil change for Gertrude. The groceries happened, Gertrude didn’t. First, though, I had to find my shoes.

    Not staged. Am I the only one laughing? Probably.

    My mom didn’t even let me take my shoes off when I walked in the door last night, and apparantly just walked right out of them in the most random of places.

    Finally found them, though. And why no oil change? Well, the sun was shining…it was beautiful…who wants to get an oil change? I’d rather do some yoga if you ask me. Jenny warned me – but that vid kicked my booty. I loved it. I was hangry after, though, and feulage in the form of cottage cheese, greek yoga, strawberries, and honey roasted almonds was a necessary. Drizzled with some irish cream agave and a boatload of cinnamon, to boot.

    I used up the last of my chickpeas to make some chickpea cutlets for dinner for le madre and I. I used balsamic rather than soy sauce, eliminated the thyme and sage but used fresh basil, and added some scallions. And made my own homemade breadcrumbs. I’m going to go ahead and give myself a pat on the back for ending up not wasting any of my homemade loaf of bread. I thought for sure I would, but – no wastage after all!

    Anyways – I took the opportunity of the oven being on to roast an eggplant, red pepper, and a sweet potato, too. Does anyone else feel the need to go on a roasting rampage once the oven gets turned on? I hope so. Eggplants and peppers would find use another day, however – and I went the route of a goat cheese, apple, spinach, and tempeh panini on multiseed whole grain bread for the lunch-age.

    Low and slow sweet potatoes joined me in my voyage. The first time I had these, I thought they were life changing. Same goes for the second. and third. This time and the last time, however – they sort of reminded me of baby food. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. Yet. I don’t think. Just sorta…weird.

    Of course, that’s probably okay because I’m just sorta weird, too. Case in point? I can’t sit down to eat until everything is just so. I can’t eat and leave the kitchen a mess. And if I have any thoughts, I need to do them and get them out of the way so I can just enjoy the food. After I made this and photographed it, I notice the horses begging to be put out on grass. Sigh. Let horses out. Come back in. Realize the kitchen is messy. Organize kitchen. Wonder if mail came. Get mail. Realize lunch is cold. Microwave lunch. Eat.

    The reading material for the lunch?

    Oh, yes – so glad I checked the mail because look what I found getting melty! Nicole noticed I was eyeballing the Boomi and Prana Bars and sent me a bunch to try! And, amazing flavors, might I add. I am sure I will have no trouble enjoying these, and I cannot wait to try one tomorrow! The ingreds in these puppies are nothing short of stellar, and I love the unique, new flavors!!

    I grabbed a homemade laraball for dessert and sat out on the porch with Kaia browsing through random Hannafords magazines. They put together a pretty mean magazine, you know. But – I desperately need to sit down and read a book this summer. First on my list? In Defense of Food, or something along those lines. Any suggestions?

    I browsed tack catalogs, moseyed outside, and did relatively useless things including nomming…

    Dr. Kracker, Sunflower Seed Butter

    …until my Mom got home from work, and we went for a ride. I grabbed a banana to share…

    It was pretty warm today – at least in relation to how it has been recently – so we didn’t go too far, but it was a really great ride! Jiggy was one tuckered puppy (uh, appy) afterwards though. We gave them a nice hose-down and he was incredibly greatful – I felt it in the way he sipped water straight from the hose 😉

    Dinner tonight was new in all sorts of ways. First time trying spaghetti squash! First time eating/making chickpea cutlets! And it was a major success – both in my eyes and mi madre’s. I took hint from Nicole once again – sheesh, I think everything I make lately is either Veganomicon or Making Good Choices! Anyways – I remember her posting a bit back about a spaghetti squash primavera. Yes, Please.

    • spaghetti squash
    • canned diced tomatoes – basil, garlic, and oregano flavor
    • zuchhini
    • roasted eggplant
    • roasted red pepper
    • artichoke hearts
    • garlic
    • scallions

    It was fantasmic. Seriously. I wasn’t sure I’d care for the spaghetti squash, hence why it’s taken so long to try it. I thought for sure it’d be too squash-y. I’m not much of a squash kinda gal. I mean, it even sounds funky. Squash? sqqqwaaassshhh. But it definitely surprised me and was incredibly reminiscent of real spaghetti. I even just microwaved it for speed and to eliminate turning on the oven.

    mmm- Loved all those veggies! This was definitlely my kinda meal. The cutlets were great too – though I think next time I’d love to make them with some fresh basil, sundried tomatoes, and more garlic – and yes, there will be a next time.

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    What’s So Great about a Date?

    Jenny’s ode to maple syrup this morning got me thinking – what else do I eat on a daily basis that I don’t necessarily eat with benefits in mind, but moreso because it’s a great, tasty snack – and of course, also better than it’s mass-processed counterparts? I was shocked to read all of the goodies in real maple syrup – I honestly just thought it was a great alternative to refined sugar! Now, I’ll be strong like maple tree. Definitely give it a read!

    Anyways –  The first thing that came to mind was: dried fruits and nuts. Now, we all know these foods are beneficial, but to be honest, I never really stopped to see how beneficial. Maybe I didn’t much care – I mean, I’ll keep eating them either way, right? My first order of business, though- What’s so great about a date?

    Dates are, most likely, the most common of the dried fruits I’ll have. I mean – how many are in a Larabar alone? They are also perfect stirred into oats or used for baking – they tend to get this delicious, sweet meltiness to them when heated. And though I’m not a huge “sweets” fan by common terminology – I do love the natural sweetness that just popping a plain ol’ dried date brings about. That being said – dates are a great form of natural sweetener. There are date sugars and date syrups, but for some reason, I don’t find these to be as widely available or known about as stevia or sucanat.

    But aside from being a great sweetener and just plain great snack, the health benefits of dates are a mile long! Want a quick peek?

    • Low in fat and cholesterol, and due to the high fiber content actually help to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. Round of applause for cardiovascular health!
    • good amounts of potassium, which is known to help to maintain a normal blood pressure level
    • high in iron
    • good source of magnesium, which studies have shown helps to relax muscles and thus relieve fatigue
    • good source of copper, which reduces your risk for developing an inflammatory disease, such as arthritis, working to maintain the elasticity of your muscles and joints
    • B-group vitamins are found in large quantities in dates, which helps your body to get all of the energy production out of the foods you give it
    • dates are also a great source of dietary fiber (which – doesn’t it seem like everything is nowadays? but that’s another post, another time.) promoting satiety and regulating blood glucose. Annnd, you know that “beans, beans” song? Well, I guess it could also go “dates, dates, the magical fruit…the more you eat…”

    So, lets hear it for dates as a great, high-energy, nutritious snack. What’s you’re favorite way to enjoy them? Here are some of my faves:

    • chopped and mixed into savory-sweet salads
    • whole dates stuffed with some nut butter (and I need to follow Nora’s footsteps and microwave them like this!)
    • in a hot applesauce mess – i swear they just get all melty and sweet in the most beautiful and delicious of ways
    • homemade laraballs
    • real Larabars
    • mixed in to baked goods and oatmeal – once again, helloooo sweet melty deliciousness!


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