Tag Archives: wrap

Hit or Miss

We all know food can tend to be a hit or miss. This is especially true when it comes to trying new products or just trying a different brand of the same product.

And we all know there’s nothing worse than excitedly digging into something new only to be let down. Okay – maybe it’s worse that we then have a whole jar/bottle of whatever that is nasty.

Breakfast: HIT!! Base: 1/2 mashed banana, ~1/2 c. quick oats, 1/2 c. almond milk, chia seeds, cinnamon (and lots of it.) Vanilla chobani mixed in in the morning.

It’s hard to ever know for sure what you’re getting into with new stuff, too – just because one person loves it doesn’t mean you will, and just because they hate it doesn’t mean you will.

Topped this morning with peanut butter sauce, raisins, walnuts, wheat germ, and maple syrup. And some mo' banana.

I think a good case in point is that Banana peanut butter I picked up the other week. I was so excited about it at first, but now I find myself using more and more of it just because I want it gone already so I can move on to the good stuff. Luckily – I can’t really taste it’s plasticy taste when it’s made into a peanut butter sauce or birdseed bars.

HIT! Store-brand peanut butter!

Ironically, “the good stuff” is just $3.69 Price Chopper brand organic crunchy peanut butter. Who’s a thought?! I’m also loving locally made jams as well as random dented can store finds like this Holiday jam.

MISS: Once Again Sunflower Seed Butter.

Another recent disappointment? This Once Again Sunflower Seed butter. I had high hopes – I mean, give me a spoon and a jar of sunflower butter and I’m a happy girl. I love it even more than peanut butter, even though (and I just realized this) you rarely see it on this blog. Usually I buy the Full Circle brand, though Sunbutter is just as good. The only brand the co-op had was Once Again – but it’s oddly gritty and salty? Not a fan. I can’t wait for it to be over so I can buy some of the good stuff! It does get brownie points for having a really cute mascot, though.

Lunch: HIT!! And I thought the wraps I've been having are the best wraps ever...add tempeh to the mix, and you'll be in heaven!!

I grilled the tempeh on the panini press before wrapping it in a homemade pesto wrap with tomato “sauce” (leftover from last night), garlic hummus, feta, and mozzarella, and panini’d away. So. dang. good.

MISS.

I’ll probably get tomatoes thrown at me for this, but this Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla was a gigantic miss for me. I might as well have been pouring water over my cereal, except this might have been worse.

This was the first almond milk I’d ever had, back when healthy eating was hardly much of a passion. It was gross to me then and made me think all almond milk was gross, and it still is. I think it made my tongue even go a little tingly.

HIT!

This (sweetened) original Silk Pure Almond, however? ding, ding, ding, we have a winner! Even though I’m not a fan of really sweet things, the Almond Breeze was just not doin’ it for me. I don’t find this milk to be too sweet, and I can use it in sweet or savory baking and/or cooking.

I’ll take the bit of added sugar if it means enjoyment! I should note – I do enjoy the original sweetened Almond Breeze. The deciding factor of whether I get Silk or Almond Breeze is dependent on which store I’m in and which is cheaper. Usually, Almond Breeze is cheaper only by a quarter or two, but is only in one store I sometimes go to.

HIT!

I dusted the date brownies from yesterday with some confectioner’s sugar to sweeten them up a bit for work. They were enjoyed! Although one boss said they needed more chocolate…crazy, if you ask me.

HITS!

The Organic Whey and Tera’s Whey are both great powders, but I’m thinkin’ The Organic Whey takes the ultimate cake. It’s unsweetened, unflavored, organic, and rBGH free…you can do whatever your little heart desires with it! Tera’s is great – but it’s already flavored and sweetened. Good for when you’re mixing it with unsweetened vanilla almond milk or when you want your bars to be very vanilla-y, but not if you’re aiming for a certain flavor. Other than bourbon vanilla, that is.

And, if you click here and enter your e-mail, you can get on the list for all sorts of big specials and savings!! I’m always getting emails for 3 pouches for $99, free shipping, and so on and so on. And neat tips!

Reasons to be careful and research your protein powders before purchase:

Reason #1 Whey protein comes from milk. If the milk contains growth hormones, antibiotics or pesticides then the resulting whey also contains these harmful ingredients. 99% of whey protein available today comes from milk that contains all three harmful elements.

Reason #2 Whey loses most of its natural goodness when it is processed using acids or high temperatures. Most major protein brands sell whey which is acid-processed because that is the most cost-effective method for industrial production. The companion nutrients in whey-things like lactoglobulin- are very tender and are destroyed in this processing.

Reason #3 Protein companies then add artificial/natural flavors and sweeteners to mask the strong taste of chemicals present in whey after it is subjected to industrial processing.

Reason #4 In the whey business, all companies buy whey from blenders who source it from the cheapest source in the world at that moment. Whey protein companies don’t know where their whey is coming from and therefore, can’t tell consumers where it is coming from or how was it processed.

HIT!

Both my mom and I love these birdseed bars!

HIT!

And I’m loving my new water bobble, too. It’s a water bottle with a filter!
I was a little bummed at first because I thought it was going to be as large as a Nalgene bottle, but the disappointment wore off when the coolness factor kicked in 😉 Although – surfing their site I see I just got one of the smaller ones :\ Bummer! Buying a larger one is in order. When you first start using it, don’t be surprised if it’s really difficult to draw from – once the filter gets a couple uses on it it’s not as much of a bother!
Here’s a great article!

HIT!

I’ve raved about this Organic Valley pourable yogurt before – but I’ll reiterate. I love it!


HIT!

HIT!

As well as Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt. I enjoy the plain, too - but since having Vanilla, I've been having a hard time switching back ;) And, last but not least...

DOUBLE WHAMMY!!

Uhhhh, yeah...I may or may not have been thinking of this waiting for me at home all afternoon ;) What are your recent hits and misses? (These opinions are my own and I am not being paid or reimbursed in any way. In fact, all of these weren't even sent to me except for The Organic Whey - but you all knew that already.)

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

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

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

Fun Facts

Fun Facts of the Day:

  • Prairie Voles are one of the only mammals that are monogamous
  • Running isn’t so bad when you don’t have an awkward camera/camera bag around your neck and your ears are warm
  • It’s really baffling me that I can’t locate my belt, as there are only two places in this house where I would be taking off such a thing
  • I am currently drinking tea. Tea means fall is upon us.

These waffles this morning were out of this world good. I added loots of cinnamon to the usual recipe, and topped it with fresh banana slices – which was a change from my usual nuked banana slices – dried figs, cashews, and peanut butter sauce. The combination worked so well…especially because my peanut butter sauce was amped up! I mixed some monkey business with organic valley vanilla yogurt, chia seeds, and maple syrup. I wish I could say I love this new peanut butter – but the more I have it, the nastier it is :\ It was fine in this combination, though, and mixed into things in general – just not plain. Too…artificially.

Anyways. Enough about breakfast. I went for another runwalk before it, though! I just…keep getting so inspired to run! I think the weather changing has a lot to do with it, as well as inspiration from everyone I read. I know Sunday’s wasn’t overwhelmingly amazing, but I erased any memory of it and set out. Which is ironic, because this morning was really crappy weather, and usually that puts me in a reclusive mood, not a “rah, rah, run!” mood. It was sprinkling, even!

But I had fun. My revelation: if you wear really dorky headphones, they cover your ears enough that the tips don’t get cold, which is always my biggest complaint. And having a working iPod definitely helps. And no bulky camera at your side.

Oh, those ears...my favorite part of him 😉

After breakfast, though, I went to see loverboy. We had such a good ride! I don’t think his little legs had ever moved so fast before our little gallop up the hill 😉 We did some work in the outdoor despite the less-than-stellar weather and then moved onto messing around in the meadows before haulin’ butt home. Not the best thing to teach him to run home, but we’ve gotta live a little, you know!

I feel much less stressed about him lately – I was sort of freaking out about whether he would “work out” where he is now, especially when winter sets in and we do indoor work. But you know…whatever happens, happens. I don’t think I’ve ever had a horse that I’ve been so content to just do whatever with…but I am with him. Even if all I do is brush him and give him his belly rubs…he’s just so much fun to be around.

Buuuut then the party was over and I got home to get some school work done. Enter: prairie voles.

Backtrack.

First, I called my mom and requested onions and peanut butter while she was at the store. How bizarre of a request is that? Onions…and peanut butter. Hmm.

and lunch was definitely not anything to be skipping over, either. Holy wow are these wraps good!

especially when you nuke them, smear them with garlic hummus, feta cheese, and roasted red pepper and then nuke a bit longer.

It was oozy, creamy, nommerful deliciousness.

With some vanilla chobani, pineapple, and energy chunk crumbles for some more protein-age and deliciousness, too.

And I just had to make something today, of course! Since I was going to still be a good student, I kept it short and sweet with homemade crackers…

mix of: 1/4 c each: sunflower seeds, chia seeds, milled flax, cashews, plus some sesame seeds and BBQ rub. Numnum.

Not really necessary, but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to keep studying diligently if I didn’t just make some banana soft serve to get it off my mind. Pure creamy, heavenly deliciousness in a bowl. I blended frozen banana, frozen raspberries, and some almond milk for pure bliss.

Enter: online classes. I’m lucky it was a dreary day, because otherwise I never would have been so diligent about reading all about prairie voles and their monogamous preferences.

Oh yeah, and cleaning out the ponies. I feel sort of bad that we haven’t done much with the lately except brushing and ground work…but at the same time, I guess it’s okay because when winter sets in we won’t be able to ride them much anyways. So hey…if they hangout and just get doted on and look cute  ’til spring it’s not the end of the world.

And to wrap this up (man, why am I so boring lately?) dinner was fabby, too:

I had a cashew-pineapple-quinoa stir fry from veganomicon, though switched up a hair just based on what I had. Initially, as I was making it…I was concerned there were too many flavors and that it would never work. But it was a-ok and was even mother approved.

Cook as instructed some quinoa.

Saute diced onion and garlic in peanut oil. Add in a pinch of ground ginger. Keep stir frying, and then add in sliced carrot, diced bell pepper, and frozen peas. Season with salt and pepper, stir frying, then add in fresh mint and fresh basil. Stir, Stir, Stir! Then add in sliced pineapple and your cooked quinoa. I chose to add some black beans for a bit more oomph, too.

Top with chopped cashews!

I’m off to go find my belt and read about the variation in color in ladybugs. I bet your night won’t be this crazy!

What’s your favorite stir fry meal? I’ve never made a real stir fry, I don’t think…but I don’t know why not!! So I want to hear all your crazy concoctions. I know there’s a few of you that enjoy them quite often 😉

Give me your most bizarre factoid!! Or self quirks. I can write a whole blog post no problem, but when I’m done and need to add tags and categories, I get so lazy and it just seems like so.much. work.

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Lesson Learned

I totally forgot to type flax up as an ingredient in yesterday’s wrap recipe (wrecipe?). My bad. All is fixed now, but…I wanted to point that out.

Look how flexible they stayed!

I mean, I shouldn’t act like I was expecting a brick…but I thought they’d be a little hard or fragile to bend without nuking first. But no! It was this pliable right out of the fridge, and this is actually one that I cooked bordering on too long. Sure – they’re not your super-soft store bought wraps…but these don’t have preservatives. Can you pronounce everything in those store bought wraps, anyways?!

I stuffed it with garlic hummus, black beans, roasted broccoli, and roasted red pepper. I chose to panini it, but I think I’d have liked it better on the less-crunchy side.

And while we’re talking about lunch, check out the rest of it:

The last of my raspberries, a peach and some pineapple. So refreshing. Not that this chilly day needed it!

Although, I did need refreshment after going to the post office. Guys – I dealt with a crazy person. I wish I was kidding. First he rails on me for having the wrong date on a package. The date on the package was not wrong – he just didn’t know today was the 8th, not yesterday. Okay, no big deal, misunderstanding. I rarely know the day, too! I politely correct him, and he apologizes profusely for about five minutes. Okay – I wasn’t too upset. Not a big deal.

But this minor incident unleashed his inner demon, and he goes on this huge vent to me, telling me how much he hates his job, he’s not treated like a human, he’s owed money, he’s planned trips to other countries but can’t go because of that, on and on and on. Of course, the funniest part was that in between all of his ranting, we’re still mailing my packages. It went a lot like this:

“…and I mean, I’m not even treated like I’m a human here, do you want delivery confirmation? I meant it’s just awful.”

“..uh, yes please.”

“Okay so this one came to $11.55, I mean I’ve got trips planned to Costa Rica…”

ahah. After that ordeal, I needed to restock my peanut butter while I was downtown. After taking what felt like a million tries to parallel park (don’t know what my issue was) I found this in the co-op:

I had my mind on the Green Mountain Goodness and was seriously excited to try it. I’ve been seeing this brand on my co-op trips but always restrain myself since I’ve had plenty of peanut butter at home. Lately, though, I’ve been flying through jars.

I just bought this Saturday! I did quite a bit of baking, but still. Sort of a pain. I’ve become really simplistic when it comes to nut butters lately – I just want a simply salted and lightly sweetened chunky peanut butter, and my sunflower seed butter. So I was sort of bummed that the Green Mountain Goodness just so happened to be out of stock!

Look at that protein! I wasn’t giving up, though, and decided Monkey Business was gonna have to be the winner. They have lots of other flavors, too! I had a taste a couple minutes ago, and so far my socks aren’t knocked off, though 😦 I think the banana is a little too artificial for my liking. But, it made sense when I looked at the ingreds again.

I’m not saying those are bad ingreds – I just think itd be better with, say – dehydrated bananas, not extract. Definitely not giving up on the brand, though, and it’s by no means bad.

Our eight flavors all have 100% Whey Protein Isolate added to provide additional, natural, healthy & pure protein. Our Plain Creamy and Chunky peanut butters do not. We wanted those to just be what they should…Organic peanuts a little sea salt for taste…period. We also do not add any refined sugar, preservatives or other yucky and unnecessary chemicals to our products. The pinch of salt we use is a Low Sodium 100% natural sea salt. The sodium in our nut butters is so low it is virtually sodium free. If you are a vegetarian, you will be happy to know our products do not have lactose except for the “trace” (1gram or less) of lactose found in whey. Our products are all gluten free and contain NO trans fats and NO hydrogenated oils!

So proud of my lil’ state, makin’ peanut butters and err’thang!

Did you know there’s 800 peanuts in one jar?! Thasss a lotta peanuts!

Speaking of finishing things, I polished off these puppies today.

as well as my plaintain burgers (…I froze one for future use, though 😉 )

I paired it with some bulgur tonight – plantain bulgur! Bulghur brought to a boil with 1/4 of a diced plantain, which I mashed up a bit. Seasoned with salt and pepper and then added in baby spinach and some diced mozzarella. Stirred with some BBQ sauce and voila!

Due to my “best for last” tendencies, I’m slooowwwly eating my way through these Boomi and Prana Bars that Nicole sent me a while ago.

Divine Foods believes that satisfying our taste buds with healthy food satisfies mind and body. Divine Foods manufacturing facility is free of wheat, cane sugar, GMO’s, meat, eggs and peanuts ensuring our products are gluten-free, soy-free and vegetarian.

Divine Foods manufactures two lines of all-natural energy bars that are superior in taste and contain no artificial additives, preservatives or sweeteners. Divine Foods’ Boomi Bars are 100% all-natural, gluten-free and contain no GMO, sulphured fruits or hydrogenated oils

Such simple ingredients! And surprisingly, not redunkulously sweet even though the first two ingredients are quite sweet on their own. I love the texture these have – soft and gooey from the dates, but with some crunch from the sesame seeds.

And I think the tidbit about enzymes is really interesting!

Enzymes are specialized protein molecules facilitating most of the body’s metabolic processes – such as, supplying energy, digesting foods, purifying your blood, ridding the body of waste products etc.

Without enzymes in your body, you could have the best nutritional plan around, and supplement your diet with a host of vitamin supplements, but without these humble workers we call enzymes, the vitamins will not be absorbed into your system.

They assist in fighting aging, weight loss, lowering cholesterol, cleaning the colon, breaking down fats, strengthening the immune system, improve mental capacity, detoxifying the body, building muscles from protein, eliminating carbon dioxide from the lungs etc.

[source] So – how to get more, without following a strictly raw diet? Well, watermelon, Kefir, apples, dried fruit, and banana splits are just naming a few! There’s some really great information here, though – a good read if you are interested!

And this bar was quite enzymingly excellent! I can’t say it was entirely pear-ginseng-y but it was still very flavorful. I find bars with dates need a lot of the other flavor in order for it to taste like that other flavor, though – this was certainly more datey than pear-y, which could be either good or bad depending on your preference! Regardless, though – these bars are a definite treat!

And, because I don’t want anyone to make the same mistake I did, don’t think that just because baked apple chunks are perfect on stovetop oats they’ll be good on overnighters. It just doesn’t work. Probably my first disappointing bowl of overnight oats to date.

I guess you just don’t mess with a classic. I consider baked apple oats to be classic – they’re good no matter what. But – especially comforting on rainy mornings or fall or winter mornings. Which, naturally, means hot oats – not cold ones!

Lesson duly noted 😉

What have you recently discovered doesn’t work as well as you’d initially hoped?

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Sundried Tomato Pesto Wraps

I made tortillas today. That’s pronounced with an “-l” sound, not an “-e” sound, in case you were wondering. Every since Napoleon Dynamite (God, I hate that movie) I’ve always said quesedilla, tortilla, etc. with an “ill-uh” not “eey-uh.”

Anyways – you should be proud of me. Because these are, pardon my French, damn good tortillas. Or wraps, I don’t really know what they’re called, but I think tortillas, even though I always call flexible breads such as this wraps. I mean…they wrap.

I had a sudden epiphany last night, as I was thinking about how I needed to make another loaf of bread today, that maybe I was sick of bread. Maybe I wanted to make something else. I don’t necessarily think I’m sick of bread, but after seeing some delicious wraps in the blogosphere (I’m looking at you and you) I decided wraps it was.

We won’t get into the fact that at the last minute I thought maybe I’d prefer making pitas. Once I realized that was more of a process involving a couple hours, I stuck to wraps.

I found this lovely recipe, and adapted it like so:

Whole-Grain Pesto Wraps

for 8-10 wraps

  • 1/4 c. oats (I used rolled – doesn’t matter what you use, though)
  • 1/4 c. bulgur (dry)
  • 1/4 c. sunflower seeds (or pumpkin or something similar)
  • 1 1/2 + 2 T. WW flour
  • 3 T. milled flax
  • 2 T. wheat bran (optional – this is what I kneaded in when I realized I needed more dry ingredient…you could use flour, or might not even need any)
  • 1 t. garlic salt
  • pinch of cracked black pepper
  • 3 T. Bella Sun Luci Sundried Tomato Pesto (see  note)
  • 1 c. warm water
  • 1/4 t. baking powder

Note: Okay, okay – I went there. I specified a name brand for an otherwise generic ingredient. As a kid, I never could comprehend why it had to be “Kraft Mayonnaise” and not Hellmann’s. I hate mayonnaise and I don’t know why I used that for an example, but I digress. This Bella Sun Luci pesto is reaaaallly, really good. If you don’t have it, you should get it, but if you can’t find it, any pesto that is not healthified will work. You want one with lots of oil. I don’t even want to suggest you sub with just oil because then all the flavor will be gone. These rely on the pesto!

1. In a food processor or blender, grind your first two ingredients – the oats and sunflower seeds. You’ll want a pretty fine grind – this took me a couple minutes. Once it resembles a consistency sort of like a medium grind cornmeal, add in the bulghur and then pulse a couple more times. This should measure almost a full cup. Dump into a large mixing bowl.

Add in the rest of your dry ingredients.

2. Add in the pesto and water. Stir until clumpy, and then knead until combined. Form into a ball.

I love the random pine nut from the pesto front and center.

It shouldn’t be too sticky, and not too dry. You should easily be able to form it into a ball. If it’s too sticky, add some more flour. Too dry, add some more water.

Wrap the dough ball in cling wrap, and let sit for ten minutes.

3. After it’s sat, divide the dough ball into 8-10 pieces. (I got 9, I think?) Roll into balls, and place back in the bowl. Cover with the cling wrap again, and let sit another ten minutes.

4. Clear off your workspace, and get out your rolling pin and large drying pan/griddle/skillet. I used a nonstick large frying pan. Turn on the burner for the pan to medium-low. Dust your work surface with flour, as well as your rolling pin. Grab a dough ball, and flatten it a bit before rolling out from the center in all directions.

Apologies for th epop-up flash photography!

You’ll want to get it reaaaalllly thin! Thinner than you may think is possible. It will almost be a little see-through. Mine were sort of haphahazardly divided so I had some much larger than a paper plate and some smaller than one – but I’ll say about the size of a paper plate is the target here.

Spread it out on the pan, and start rolling out your next dough ball, though keep an eye on your wrap in the burner. They don’t cook super fast – about the time it takes to roll one out, actually! But when it feels a little stiffer in the pan, flip it.

If you’re using them as wraps, you won’t want them really brown or golden because they’ll probably break rather than wrap. So go for lightly golden!

When they are done, remove to a paper plate. let cool fully before transferring to an airtight container or bag. I’m storing mine in the fridge. They’ll probably need to be microwaved for a couple seconds before use, though so far they’re staying surprisingly supple. I say surprisingly because I’m remembering once when I attempted making Roti and I did something wrong, and I yielded a bunch of really flat rocks that weren’t good for much of anything.

As you can imagine, I’m still a little bitter about the Roti experience. These, however, I am not bitter about.

These are good. They even got a “good” from the mama-kins. It was a “these would be really good if you hadn’t used whole wheat everything,” sort of good, but as I’ve mentioned before – she’s a work in progress in that area.

I can’t wait to get my hands on some basil pesto to make them with, and I bet pureeing some spinach would be pretty fun, too 🙂

Aaaand, not to keep tooting my own horn (that’s a lie – I’m definitely tooting my own horn right now and I don’t even have any shame. I just made wraps, for Pete’s sake!) but the rest of today was pretty stellar too.

Waffles with pear, raisins, and peanut butter sauce

Which is sort of ironic because I woke up to rain. It bummed me out. I was so bummed out I almost didn’t want to go to the barn again, which put me in a “that’s that. He’s got to come here. blah blah blah. The rain is falling and the apocalypse is coming. blah blah blah.” mood. I knew I had to, though. He’s my Teddie monster. I love that little guy. It’d been too long since I gave him a cookie. A really good belly rub. A kiss on his pretty little cheek.

By too long I mean a day and a half, but it feels like a lot longer when you miss a riding day! I didn’t even really plan to ride him – but by the time I did some errands in town the sun was shining and I’ll be darned if it wasn’t getting hot outside again. So I took him for a [really fun] ride to the outdoor, around the meadows, and a short [because his little legs get tuckered out pretty quick] gallop up the hills. Short as in about ten strides before he’s out of breath and has to stop.

But he’s all cute and excited before he realizes it’s a lot of work, so we have fun anyways 😉

Since I wasn’t really planning on riding, and if I did for not much more than fifteen minutes or so [I rode at least for half an hour] I didn’t think to bring a snack. By the time I got home, I was starved. With no bread and wraps made after this lunch, I wasn’t complaining that a green monster was what needed to happen.

I think this is my most-epic of all green monsters. Freya, is it epic enough to call it an epic greenie?! I’ll tell you one thing – I didn’t want it to end.

Blended:

  • frozen banana
  • peach
  • three (?) handfuls baby spinach
  • splash of almond milk
  • vanilla chobani
  • acai powder
  • flax oil
  • cashews

Adorned with:

  • wheat germ
  • raspberries
  • puffed rice
  • chopped medjool date
  • puffins (original)
  • peanut butter sauce
  • a drizzle of honey

and I think that’s everything? I’m telling you – what took this above and beyond the usual was definitely the frozen banana, peanut butter sauce, and cereals on top. Holy wow.

The afternoon was filling with wrap making, horse cleaning and other general nonsense. I started “classes” today, too. In quotations because sadly, they’re all online. I really only wanted two or three online, and two or so in the classroom. I mean, it’d be sort of nice to meet new people.

There’s always next semester. Or I can go lurk in the library.

nah .

Oh yeah, and I made some Chunks of Energy-esque bars. I just sort of threw everything that sounded good in the processor, though…not really following anything.

And dinner was another concoction all its’ own, based on this bean and plantain burger recipe.

Mash: 1/2 c. black beans, 1/2 of a baked sweet potato, 1/2 of a diced plantain.

Add in: 1/4 of a diced red pepper, 1 1/2 t. curry powder, salt, 1 T. quick oats, 1 T. VWG. Bake: 450 for 25 minutes, flipping once.

Serveed on a bed of baby spinach with millet (!!!), fresh garden tomato, mozzarella, corn, and BBQ sauce. Sorry, no clever dressing today.

Yes, there is millet under there somewhere…

Since I had time (re: patience) I knew I had to give it another go. And yes, I did make sure to keep it right next to the quinoa so I knew I was grabbing the millet and not the quinoa 😉 Since I had the time/patience it actually cooked as it was supposed to. Nice and fluffy! I would like to make a “fun” dish with it next. Or breakfast. Daniel’s got a great recipe for me to give a shot though!

Wraps or Bread? Favorite kind of wrap?

Ever had a plantain? What did you think of it? They’re pretty neat little guys, aren’t they? Offering just as much nutritional bennies as a banana (and we already know there ae oodles!) but with less sugar and sodium. And you can’t eat them raw. Which sort of makes me want to try eating one raw…

:

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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.

_______________________________

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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