My Cottage Cheese Cherry

Happy día de hump, mis foodies!

Thank you so much for all of your supportive comments in response to yesterday’s  back to escuela announcement. I was grinning from oreja a oreja (ear to ear) all day as I read through your enthusiastic words. I’m so excited to be taking this "next step" en mi vida, and I’m even more excited that I get to share my journey with all my favorite foodies.

Before I write another essay, let us resume regularly scheduled Foodie Diaries programming. By that, I of course mean más food, menos philosophizing.

Martes morning, while characteristically cold, was uncharacteristically sunny. Since I was working from mi cama, beneath a wonderfully warm down comforter, I wasn’t so concerned with the frigid outside world’s temperature. I was just elated to have sun beaming through my windows.

En serio, yo amo el sol. You know how everyone swears by the exercise-endorphins correlation? I’m a more emphatic proponent of the sun-endorphins correlation. Sun, even more so than warmth, makes me ridiculously feliz. This may have something to do with the fact that I often embrace the presence of sol as a sign that I should be drinking iced coffee.

Such was the case ayer. 40° outside? Ain’t no thang when the sun is shining.

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Icy Godiva Hazelnut Creme Café. This was increible. In addition to my sun –> endorphin hypothesis, I’m also a huge proponent of the iced coffee-endorphins correlation.

That said, I should explain that the above mug-bowl hybrid held over three cups of café (and could’ve held cuatro!). So post-gulpage sippage, I felt like one of those drugged up, happy eggs from the Zoloft commercials.

Apparently good moods create delicious desayunos.

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En el bol: 1/2 cup oats cooked in 1 cup water, with 1/3 cup egg whites whisked in. Topped with a tasty triad of: 1/2 container Chobani, a sinfully grande scoop of Barney Butter and a “let’s see how much I can squeeze into my fist” serving of trail mix.

I have midget manos, so it took a lot to successfully transfer that much goodness from the trail mix container into the bowl. You gotta do what you gotta do.

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In le mix de trail: pepitas, sliced almonds, walnuts and dried cranberries. All good things.

The other two components of my tasty toppings triad were, I suspect, the culprits behind the unwavering fullness that followed this glorious bowl.

Perhaps it wasn’t the toppings themselves—but rather my heavy handedness with the Barney Butter scoopage.

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No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. My Barney Butter “scoop” is definitely the same size as my yogurt mound. Woops.

‘Twas a delicious “mistake” that, come lunchtime, left me too full for “real lunch.”

What’s a foodie to do? Eat fake lunch.

Otherwise known as a snack.

Here’s where we get to the title of this post.

Yesterday, I popped my CCCherry (Cottage Cheese Cherry)! Lo siento for the vulgarity—but I couldn’t resist the alliteration, acronym and pun potential of cottage cheese cherry.

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I know, I know. I’m the last person en el mundo to try cottage cheese, but, for some reason, I’ve always convinced myself that I wouldn’t like it. (Actually, I know the exact reason. At sleep away camp, during a sex ed talk, the counselor referred to cottage cheese when explaining a yeast infection. TMI? Maybe. But I’m sure you understand why I fomented a negative association with that chunky wonder.)

Moving along, I knew that my lunchtime snack was going to feature cottage cheese. But, CC novice that I was, I didn’t know the best way to eat it.

Wanting to ensure that my first time was both special and pleasurable, I sought out C.C.concoction suggestions from la princesa de CC.

She graced me with muchos options via tweetvice, so I just went with the one I’ve seen grace the pages of her blog most frequently.

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1/2 cup cottage cheese and cinnamon on an English muffin.

Be advised that the remainder of the cinnamon bottle was added post-photo op.

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¡AY, DIOS MIO! I had no idea that cottage cheese was so ridiculously thick and cheesy (go figure). I’ve always pictured it far more watered-down. This was so rich and sort of reminded me of ricotta.

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Just a forewarning. I’m pretty sure I’m in love with cottage cheese. As in, I sort of want to eat it for every single meal. I’m doing my best not do this. But lo siento if I can’t fight the urge.

I couldn’t have imagined a more delectable first time.

Since my plate was all cinnamon-coated, I decided to get double use out of it before throwing it in the dishwasher.

Enter manzana con canela y azúcar.

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I was going to slice it in a photogenic manner. But then I got lazy.

Eventually, the fullness afflicted by breakfast and fake lunch subsided, and I was ready for a real savory lunch.

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En el plato: 3 egg whites, queso americano, a flatulently grande serving of black beans and salsa.

I didn’t intend for this to be an open-faced omelet, but it was necessitated due to a heavy hand with the bean scoopage. Apparently I really like my beans and Barney Butter. There are worst vices.

Cena was a bowl duo of blogger staples that can be had sweet or savory.

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I opted for savory on both fronts.

First up, a veteran concoction here on The Foodie Diaries: savory oats.

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In the mix: 1/2 cup oat bran cooked in 1 cup water, with 1/3 cup egg whites whisked in. Topped with a heap of sautéed spinach and grilled onion. Dressed in soy sauce.

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As always, the grilled cebolla was the star.

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And, as always, things got gloriously messy post-photo op.

Parte dos was on my mind all día.

After falling in love with my first taste of sweet cottage cheese, and perhaps having a few small scoops throughout the day…

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…just to be absolutely positive I liked loved it, I wanted to try a savory cottage cheese concoction.

This one was inspired by Miss Janetha.

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In the mix: 1 cup cottage cheese, 1/2 cup garbanzos, red bell pepper, celery, taco seasoning, chili powder and seasoned salt.

CC obsession confirmed. I’ll take it sweet, savory, any (legal) way I can get it.

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Much like my veteran savory oats, newbie savory cottage cheese had a star: garbanzos.

No, wait. The beans were bueno. But the cottage cheese was definitely the star. I think I just said that because the garbanzos were the most prominent part of the photo. Fibbery.

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In truthery, much like savory oats, savory CC gets gloriously messy post-photo op.

Nada new about dessert.

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Kettle corn with a side of Twitter in a sea of down=life is good.

So, por favor, tell me: What are your favorite ways to eat cottage cheese? Do you have a favorite brand? Also, there are so many different types (fat content, salted, unsalted). Which do you like best? I just grabbed a random brand and chose 2 percent because I didn’t know if fat free was gross/if 4 percent was too thick. Any CCadvice is greatly appreciated!

Amor,

Sarah

Tengo Hambre

Last we spoke, I left you all with a mild cliffhanger.

Then I disappeared for dos semanas. To address this, I can do no more than quote the timelessly eloquent Stephanie Tanner.

how_rudeSource.

Rude, indeed, mis foodies. But I am here now, ready to unhinge that cliff.

So what’s this exciting news that involves comida and vida?

Drumroll, por favor…

I’m going back to escuela to study nutrition!

I don’t know how exciting that seems to all of you, but I am puppy-love-top-of-the-Eiffel-tower ecstatic about this “next step.” I know that, with the exception of my about me page, I’ve not discussed my employment status or career plans much on the blog. This is mostly because I’ve spent the past few months ping-ponging between various “life plans,” tirelessly contemplating which one would best silence the redundant and boisterous “what do you want to do with your life?” mental nagging.

So what do I want to do with my life? I can’t answer that with any semblance of certainty, but I am sure that I’m taking a step in the right direction.

I truly hope so, any way, because tengo hambre.

En ingles, I’m hungry.

Given my foodie nature, I realize that this is not much of a revelation. I’m always hungry. Always. But, for once, I am not referring to my ever-present appetite. I’m referring to a non-food-related hunger.

I am starving for a career, for a life, that allows me to do what I love. What do I love? You all know the answer to this one. But, in the spirit of Gena’s incredibly insightful and inspiring post, I’ll profess a love I’ve professed many times before.

My name is Sarah, and I love to eat.

Since the Travel Channel has yet to call to see if I want to be the next Samantha Brown, I’m not sure I can finagle getting paid to eat. This is okay (until they call, of course ;) ) because this love affair doesn’t end when I put down my fork.

I love all things food. Cooking it, talking about it, writing about it, learning about the science behind the deliciousness—occasionally photographing and blogging about it ;) .

I am hungry for a career that allows me to explore, expand and celebrate my love of food.

So scratch that part about my hunger not being food-related. It’s entirely so. For a while now, I’ve known that the elusive answer to the whole “what do you want to do with your life” conundrum would involve food, creativity and writing. These are my non-negotiables.

So how is studying nutrition going to be my gateway to a food, creativity and writing-laden career?

Knowledge is power, and enthusiasm pulls the switch.”

Steve Droke

(Don’t worry if you don’t know who that is. Neither do I. And, apparently, neither does Google.)

This quote isn’t particularly profound, but I’ve always found it very true. You see, knowledge itself is only potentially powerful. Enthusiasm and passion are what drive us to put our knowledge to use, to empower it.

For example, I received my B.A. in print journalism. I graduated well-trained in the ways of political, finance, hard news, features, you-name-it reporting. Knowledge? Check. What I lacked was enthusiasm. I had no desire to write about the economy, or political scandals, or the top ten ways to make your man’s toes curl. (I wish that last one was hypothetical, but an editor actually asked me to write that story during a summer internship. Journalism at its finest…)

All I wanted to write about were food and nutrition. These are the topics about which I’m enthusiastic, about which I’m passionate. In college, I found a way to do this by focusing all of my policy assignments on school lunch reform and nutrition labeling, all of my features on health trends, recipes and social issues involving food.

Post-college, food and health writing did not come as easy. While I have the enthusiasm, I lack the formal knowledge. I’m not a professional chef. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m just a chica that loooooves to eat.

This is where studying nutrition lends a hand. Knowledge? Soon-to-be check.

I’m not sure I could turn my love for food into a career without further expertise. I’m not sure I’d want to. Whether I end up writing about food, talking about it for a living or consulting those who need nutritional advice, I need to know more. I’m hungry to know more.

Onto the details: Two weeks ago, I began a six-month immersion program at The Institute of Integrative Nutrition in NYC. At the end of the program, I’ll be certified by the AADP and SUNY Purchase as a holistic health counselor.

This is not an R.D. program. IIN emphasizes bio-individuality—the concept that each person has unique nutritional needs. Essentially, one person’s food could be another person’s poison. That said, IIN teaches a myriad of dietary theories—combining the knowledge of traditional philosophies with modern concepts like the USDA food pyramid, the glycemic index, the Zone and raw foods.

I know I’ve not divulged much about my personal health story (a separate lengthy story for a separate lengthy post), and I’ve only briefly spoken about my fascination with nutrition, but I am so excited to fully embrace geek mode and absorb every bit of foodie/nutritional knowledge I can.

My first weekend of classes was fascinating, invigorating, exhaustingly informative and, most importantly, reassuring. I’m so emphatically positive that studying at IIN is where I’m supposed to be right now. Am I certain where it will take me? Not at all. But, as I said earlier, I know it’s a step in the right direction.

Phew! That was a picture-less mouthful. If you made it all the way through, I commend you.

And I think you deserve some standard Foodie Diaries FOOD PORN :) .

This batter here…

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…turned into these beautiful Cayenne Dark Chocolate Brownies.

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Recipe courtesy of Kristen, my fellow foodie and nutrition-loving amiga.

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Cayenne + dark chocolate = brilliant. Make. These. Now.

More on the chocolate front:

These ingredients joined forces with a little cream queso and bread.

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…which looked a little something like this.

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Until it got marinated in vanilla cinnamon french toast batter…

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…and ended up looking more like this.

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Cream cheese, barney butter and dark chocolate stuffed french toast.

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Oooooh my gah.

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With a side of leftover french toast batter scramble.

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I hate to repeat myself but make. this. now.

Since I just, uh, announced that I’m going back to school to study nutrition, I suppose I should show a little veggie food porn…

Loaded Eggplant Rounds

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I grilled eggplant rounds on the Foreman for 3 minutes on each side. Then, I topped half with hummus, and half with a cream cheese, garlic and sun-dried tomato mixture. That got topped with a garlic, spinach, olive and caper sauté. And then I topped the hummus rounds with more hummus ;) , and the cream cheese and sun-dried tomato rounds with more sun-dried tomato. Next, I baked them at 400° for 5 minutes, and broiled for another 5.

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Veggie perfection. I usually make a variation of this recipe using eggplant “steaks”—but I liked this version because it was easier to mix up the toppings. Oh, and you got to eat more ;) .

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Thank you all again for reading (or skimming, whatever ;) ) my novel of an announcement. I’d love to hear any of your thoughts regarding my ambiguous career path! What’s your career story? Do you do what you love? Also, if there’s anything you’d like me to share more about, regarding IIN, what I’m learning in my classes, my career path, nutrition, etc., please let me know!

Amor,

Sarah

In Case You Were Wondering If I’m On a Nilla Diet…

…I’m not.

In part, porque I don’t believe in diets. In part, porque the Nilla supply ran out.

In all seriousness, yesterday someone Googled “nilla wafer diet” and landed on my blog.

Hmm, a nilla wafer diet? I feel compelled to address this.

Dearest anonymous Nilla wafer enthusiast,

While I clearly love the Nilla as much as the next chica, I do not advise constructing your diet around its sweet, wafery glory. If, however, you are set on doing so, see this post for some Nilla foodspiration.

Sincerely,

An advocate of Nillas-in-moderation

I realize my last post boasted a whole lot of Nilla, but I (sort of regrettably) assure you, Nilla wafers and I do not see each other on a daily basis. We’re more a one night stand that recurs every few years. And this, I believe, is for the best.

Need evidencia? I present to you a full day of no-Nilla, normal foodie eats.

Nilla-free breakfast: Black and White Cookie Yoatgurt

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El negro: 1/2 cup oats cooked in 1 cup water, scoop of almond butter, 1 tbsp. cocoa powder and Truvia. La blanca: 1 container plain Fage 2% con cinnamon.

You’ll have to take my word that there were no Nillas layering the bottom of the bowl.

This early Chinese New Year-inspired, yin and yang creation was the most delicious way I’ve started my día in quite some time.

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The only problemo: It was almost too filling. Have any other yoatgurt lovers found this? Perhaps I’ll have to 86 the nut butter or use 1/3 cup oats instead of 1/2.

This is not to say I didn’t fully clean this mess up.

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And enjoy every last creamy, chewy bite.

This was my first bowl of yoatgurt since Miss Janetha introduced it to blogland, but I’ve actually unknowingly been enjoying this so-called yoatgurt for years. For as long as I can remember, whenever I stay at hotels with continental breakfasts, I’ve combined a pack of instant oatmeal with a container of whatever yogurt they have on hand. I’m happy it now has a formal name because I’ve certainly gotten my fair share of “what are you eating?”s over the years. Now, I can smugly respond, “uh, yoatgurt” and witness non-food blogger confusion reach new heights. Bueno.

Despite feeling as though I’d never be hungry again, that was, shockingly, not so.

The star of lunch was my favorite veggie tuna mix, which, like pollo, I’d not had in over a month. No idea why. But I missed it.

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In the mix: 4 oz. tuna, 2 dollops of Fage, 2 tbsp. honey mustard, lemon pepper seasoning, krazy salt, red peppers, onions and celery.

…which was clearly too much for my dos pieces of  honey whole wheat toast.

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So an open-faced sandwich it became. Mi boca didn’t mind this, as I believe it thought it was getting dos sandwiches. My shirt was pretty feliz, too, as it didn’t leave the table decorated in tuna.

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Served con a whole lot of asparagus. A few green cheetahs. No Nillas.

Just in the nick of snack time, I stumbled upon this mouth-watering recipe and made the executive decision to step away from the trail mix and bake up a double-punch, fruit-and-veggie treat.

Roasted Butternut Squash Con Manzana

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Butternut stump, de-seeded and filled with one chopped honey crisp. Topped with 1 tbsp. water, 1 tbsp. maple syrup and cinnamon. Covered in tin foil and baked for one hour at 400°.

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Por favor, make this now.

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This is quite possibly the most delicious way I’ve ever eaten a butternut squash, and I’m mildly depressed that I discovered this just as winter squashes are going out of season. Triste.

My squash baby kept me full well into the dinner hour. But, come 10 p.m., I got hungry (and felt sort of gypped on the cena front). So I whipped up dinner in less than 5 minutos.

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Despite looking moderately sophisticated, this was actually one of my go-to college meals.

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1 bag Uncle Ben’s 90-second Brown & Wild Whole Grain Medley, topped with leftover roasted eggplant and a generous pour of Soy Vay!

This rice is the most flavorful, quickie brown rice I’ve found. And its ingredient list is pretty innocent, too. Bueno!

And the Soy Vay! You all know how I feel about Soy Vay. It has an uncanny ability to make anything taste better. Anything. But especially veggies.

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And since an entire bag of brown rice clearly didn’t meet my carbzilla requirements, I had half of a freshly baked, super fluffly whole wheat pita with melty Jarlsberg. On my finest china.

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Dessert was, oddly, not popcorn. Nor Nillas.

Rather, it was my new favorite super salty store brand mini pretzel rods and big scoop of creamy Barney Butter.

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Oh, sweet and salty flavor combinations, you never cease to woo me. Be mine?

Before I go, in an attempt to avoid another unannounced hiatus, I wanted to give you a heads up that I’m not sure what my posting schedule will be like next week. I haven’t mentioned this, but post-kitchen renovation, we decided to continue on and renovate the living room. So, for a good part of next week, I am being forced to evacuate the premises to allow los chicos to do the nitty, gritty construction stuff. In other words, I’ll be couch surfing and may not have my computadora and/or internet. However, when I return, I have some very exciting news to share. It involves comida. And vida. And those were the most pitifully vague hints ever, so you’ll just have to wait it out ;) .

Feliz fin de semana! Feliz Dia de los Enamorados! Feliz Chinese New Year! Any exciting plans? Anyone attempting to combine Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year festivities?

Amor,

Sarah

Well, I Haven’t Eaten That In a While…

Reporting live from the NYC Blizzard of 2010,

where unwavering flurries are following DC’s trend.

En mi casa, en mi cama, is where this entire day shall pass.

Needless to say, I skipped out on my humpday pilates class.

This was probably for the best, as I’ve been under the weather.

But, today, despite the frio forecast, I’m feeling much better.

Still, the last two dias of eats bear little food blog allure.

Envision pita, hummus, sopa, pretzel and popcorn galore.

Not the healthiest choices, but my illness, they did mend.

For when I’m enferma, carbs are my friend.

But a lack of foodie photos is not something you should mourn,

As I’m about to bestow upon you mucho food porn.

These random weekend eats are uncommon to my standard foodie style,

And I kept thinking to myself, “Well, I haven’t had that in a while…”

First up, we have Nilla wafers, a childhood favorite of mine.

Topped with peanut butter and raisins? Even más divine.

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But what if those glorious components met wheat bread and a grill?

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Why you’d have a Nilla PB raisin panini— a foodgasmic thrill.

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We’ll get to more Nilla lovin’ later, if you can bear the anticipation.

For now, I’d like to share another panini-pressed creation.

This one features something else I’ve not had in a while:

Pollowhich, for over a month, has been absent from my foodie file.

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And I’m muy feliz to have it back because this sandwich was amazing.

The corn, roasted peppers and melty queso are also worth praising.

The star ingredient, though, was one I newly came across.

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‘Twas sweet and spicy perfection in the form of sauce.

Next up, another goodie I’ve not had since I was a kid:

Pillsbury dinner rolls, which, in the future, I shall forbid.

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Delicious they may be, but when you consume more than two…

A bellyache will ensue, and, unlike the doughboy, you won’t be saying “hoohoo!"

Something else I haven’t tasted since I was a child?

Hostess cupcakes—though this version is upgraded and restyled.

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Mucho mejor than the infamous packaged treat,

This grande cupcake hails from Crumbs, on 42nd street.

It was a most delicious payment for the cooking session you’re about to witness,

Which was done with amor for mi amigo who hasn’t been eating his best.

You see, since living on his own, he’s not had a home cooked meal.

So I was happy to fix that. (Plus, cupcakes for cooking is my kind of deal.)

I whipped up enough comida to last him through the week’s end.

To quote Gretchen from Mean Girls, “it’s because I’m SUCH a good friend.”

Onto the goods: You may be wondering, what’s in that pot?

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My famoso fried rice. Only it’s not.

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A healthified, un-fried creation that I’m dying to share,

I’m still perfecting the recipe, but its debut is near.

Let us redirect our attention to what’s cooking in the oven.

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Claro que si, it’s more pollo lovin’.

The first step was a pollo pan-searing party.

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Then it was broiled with increible jalapeño havarti.

I left mi amigo with a sweet finale—always a must.

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Cream Cheese Oreo Pudding Pie in a Nilla Wafer Crust!

On that note, I will conclude this impromptu rhyme.

Hope everyone’s hump-dias were sublime!

Enferma

Hoping that my cure lies in this can.

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And that I’ll be up and running mañana.

Hope everyone had wondrous weekends and sensational Superbowl Sundays!

A.M. Alliteration

¡Hola, hombres!

(I realize that most of you are mujeres, but I’m feeling a little alliterative so you’ll have to bear with me.)

Let us weigh in on Wednesday, which was a little wacky. Mostly because my mañana commenced con my crazy, crass pilates instructor. After yesterday’s class, I think I have to change her nickname to crazy, crass, perverted pilates instructor.

¿Por qué? She decided to have us use mini-medicine balls in our routine. Nada perverted about that, but I’m pretty sure she only did this so she could make balls jokes for the entire hour of class. And that she did. You would think an hour of balls jokes would stop being funny ten minutes in. But this was not so. Either I have the maturity level of a pre-pubescent chico, or balls jokes are exponentially more entertaining when told in a thick Russian accent. I suspect it’s a combination of both.

Post-pilates, I pondered life breakfast possibilities con chocolate cappuccino café negro and an orange.

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This pensive pre-breakfast awakened an awesomely alliterative answer.

Allow me to present…

P.B. Pudding Pumpkin Oats

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1/2 cup oats cooked in 1 cup water. 1/2 cup pumpkin stirred in at the end. Topped with 1/2 cup vanilla pudding and a PB spoon.

Peanuty, pumpkiny, puddin’ perfection.

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Please produce promptly.

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Ok, I’ll stop with the alliterative annoyance (after that) because I’m having trouble enunciating my enthusiasm over this breakfast without a simple “THIS. WAS. SOOOOOOOOOO. GOOD!”

When things got messy, all of the flavors and textures melded. And I’m pretty sure I oohed-and-aaaahed from start to finish.

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Oh, and it was ridiculously filling.

So filling, in fact, that between the breakfast and lunch horas, no snacks were had. This is a rare occurrence en mi vida.

Eventually hunger reared its ugly always-welcome head, and I threw together an amazing almuerzo.

Los innards:

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On a whole wheat wrap: Greek olive hummus, jarlsberg slices, honey turkey slices and marinated kalamata olives

Onto el griddle for a hot minuto.

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Y voila!

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I got my fruits and veggies in with a salsa bell and an army of apricots.

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Cena may look familiar.

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After spoiling my unstoppable appetite with a double dinner on martes, el estómago was not about to settle for a single cena last night. So I gave it an encore.

Except this time, I opted to make la ensalada my Asian component. (Apparently I think that my dinner’s have to be half-Asian. Perhaps paying homage to my ethnic makeup?)

Ensalada Asiática

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In the mix: baby spinach, steamed carrots, asparagus, cucumbers, celery, marinated shrooms, red bell pepper, grilled onion and a clementine.

And this beautiful Caucasian face was responsible for taking this ensalada to ridiculously delicious Asian heights.

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Looove this dressing. And Sir Newman, of course.

Cebolla y clementine center.

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Con the clementine peel. Not for decorative purposes. Simply because I got the peel off in one piece, and I was proud.

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Grilled onions + clementines + amazing Asian dressing = boca-gasm.

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Onto cena segunda: Savory Double Cheesy Oats

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1/2 cup oats cooked in 1 cup water for 2 minutes. Dos Laughing Cow wedges added and microwaved for 1 more minute. Topped with the great urine funkifier.

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The key to ridiculously creamy, cheesy oats is the two Laughing Cow wedges. One will give you the flavor, but dos gets you the texture. (Which, if you need further convincing, is on par with cheesy risotto…)

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My popcorn-tooth returned after Tuesday night’s hiatus. Phew.

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But I managed to take care of newfound puddin’-tooth, too.

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Happy almost weekend, mis foodies! La hermana is coming home tonight, so I won’t be back ‘til lunes. You know, brownie duty calls…

Amor,

Sarah

Who Am I?

‘Twas a tasty Tuesday that seemed to zip by

Cravings were aplenty, and I was eager to comply

But my eats were a bit uncharacteristic. (We’ll soon have a gander.)

And I couldn’t help feeling like Derek Zoolander

When I found myself questioning, Who am I?

Worry not. I’m not having an identity crisis. But, go figure, the day after I dedicate an entire post to how my foodie personality is predictably the same as it’s always been, I experience a day full of “this is so not me” eating.

My first inkling that some other foodie spirit had repossessed my body came with my mañana cup of coffee.

My kitchen’s currently boasting a pretty extensive selection of coffee. But I’m pretty faithful to my tried-and-true favorites, those usually being some jazzed-up version of a vanilla or hazelnut base. Ayer, I wanted none of that. I awoke in a chocolate state of mind.

Now I know what you’re thinking. That’s not really grounds for a “who am I?” moment, as I’ve recently realized and confirmed my fondness for cocoa. However, while I’m certainly acquiring a taste for chocolate, I’ve yet to seriously crave it or favor it over my veteran front-runners. Until yesterday.

I completely fast-forwarded over the part of my mañana routine where I habitually stare into my coffee cabinet for a good five to ten minutes, debating el café del día.

No deliberation necessary. I wanted chocolate coffee.

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Specifically New England Coffee’s Chocolate Cappuccino. I tried this last week, and I’m pretty sure it’s been on the brain ever since. But because I’m a save-the-best-for-last OCD freak, I’ve been rationing it until I can locate and hoard several more bags.

But there was no fighting that chocolate feeling yesterday. I gave into my moment of chocolate cappuccino weakness. And it was glorious.

This coffee is so bueno that I drank it straight up.

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Herein lies my next “who am I?” moment. My café always features creamer, almond milk or whipped cream, and I usually sweeten it with azúcar or stevia. Yesterday, I took it negro. And it was the best cup of coffee I’ve had in months. You know what they say, once you go negro

Moving along… I was ready to shake the whole “who am I?” hindrance with breakfast. I already knew what I was making, and it was very me.

Or so I’d intended.

I’ve been wanting to make Tina’s “Baked” Pumpkin Oatmeal” since I first laid eyes on it. I doubled the recipe porque I know mi estómago, and one packet of instant oatmeal would keep me full for approximately 20 minutes.

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Looks a little diferente from Tina’s, right? On a whim, I decided to add cocoa powder. Seriously. WHO AM I? I had a perfectly delicious, pumpkin-y concoction sitting before me, and I chose (read: needed) to chocolate-ify it?

I’ll stop whining, though. My case of the “who am I?”s worked brilliantly here. This. was. AMAZING.

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Los ingredientes: 2 packets maple brown sugar instant oatmeal, 1/2 cup canned pumpkin, 1/2 cup egg whites, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp. agave and 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder. Mixed and microwaved for 3 minutes. (Or 2:59 if you’re weird like me.)

Chocolately pumpkiny perfection. Make. This. Ahora.

Sometime after that bowl of deliciousness, I G-chatted with hermana and learned that she, too, was eating out-of-character.

Melissa: you’ll be happy to know the brownie rampage has continued at school

snowstorms mean 8238928329329 brownies

me: jealous

i made CHOCOLATE OATS for bfast

like, i was CRAVING chocolate

WHO AM I!?

Melissa: um i made waffles and eggs with spinach and laughing cow for bfast

like what? i made myself a real breakfast… WHO AM I!?

At least we’re in this together, hermana.

Lunch parte uno was a pretty standard Sarah sandwich.

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On a toasted sandwich thin: laughing cow, Sabra hummus, roasted eggplant and roasted red peppers.

It was during lunch parte dos that I had to step back and ask myself, “who am I?”

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Apparently I thought I was a 5’10 blonde with a snacky disposition.

On my undeniably plagiarized snack plate:

The leaning tower of red bell pepper.

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Filled con salsa.

Manzana con cinnamon.

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Plus triple C crudités: carrots, cucumbers and celery.

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Which christened this fresh tub of Greek Olive Sabra.

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This is currently my favorite Sabsession. But I’ve yet to try the caramelized onion flavor, which I suspect may change my life.

Post-lunch came errands, a writing project and some at-home pilates. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I slept through my Tuesday clase. So, I attempted to do some mat stretching, scissors (because they’re naughty) and rollovers (because they’re fun) en mi cuarto.

‘Lates ended up looking like this:

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Yea, somewhere between stretching and scissors, I got lost in blog-reading, which somehow led me to get lost in Cherry Garcia. My newfound sweet tooth is really confusing me.

For dinner, I decided it was acceptable to have dos. Who am I?

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Ok, fine. That food decision is entirely characteristic of me. But both of my cena components were large and in charge, and I’m sort of surprised I was able to eat it all. Sort of.

First up: una ensalada enorme.

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I realize that doesn’t look so enorme because it’s on a plate. But I assure you it was massive. In fact, I have proof it was massive. But we’ll get to that later.

In the mix: baby spinach, red bell pepper, cucumber, celery, apple, brie, grilled shrooms, green cheetahs, asparagus, grilled onion and fried egg whites. Predictably dressed in a honey-balsamic blend.

The increible trifecta of fried egg whites, green cheetahs and grilled cebolla in the center.

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And the no-fail combo of manzanas y brie dispersed throughout.

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One more cebolla shot because grilled onion doused in sweetened balsamic is both aesthetically and gastronomically mind-blowing.

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So much so that it was the star of dinner numero dos: savory Asian oats.

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1/2 cup oats cooked in 1 cup water and 2 tbsp. soy sauce. Topped with grilled onion and asparagus.

I’d sort of forgotten how much I love savory oats. One bite into that creamy, soy saucy creation, and I fully remembered.

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Messified deliciousness.

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Onto that evidencia that my ensalada was one of great size.

I couldn’t eat it off the plate. Seriously, it was imposible.

So, into my hugh jass mixing bowl it went.

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Oh, and if you’d like evidencia of my aforementioned save-the-best-for-last approach to eating… this is how I eat my salads.

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Yes, I consume the 3 pounds of baby spinach first and save all of the well-marinated goodies for the end.

And now, for my final and most profound “who am I?” moment of el día: I wasn’t in the mood for popcorn for dessert.

My fridge is currently harboring a massive tub of vanilla pudding, and I was inexplicably drawn to it post-cena.

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Con grahams, of course.

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This was SO GOOD. Just to forewarn you, I feel a pudding kick coming on. Though, if my popcorn addiction doesn’t return by tonight, I may have a full-blown “WHO AM I!?” meltdown.

Do your food cravings ever throw you off? Up until very recently, my sweet tooth was non-existent. And its frequent presence is really freaking me out. Clearly, though, I’m embracing it :) .

Amor,

Sarah

A Foodie Groundhog’s Day

In case you’ve feared that, during my loco hiatus, my foodidentity (foodie + identity = foodidentity, right?) underwent any changes, Monday’s eats should assure you that I’m exactly as I left you.

While I do my best to embrace creativity en la cocina, I’m undeniably a creature of habit. When I find something I love to eat, I eat it. Often.

That said, I present to you: A Foodie Groundhog’s Day.

Because, if you’ve read The Foodie Diaries for a while, you are about to experience a post-long déjà vu deluge.

Por ejemplo, I am still consuming the world’s biggest bowls of Honey Sunshine for breakfast.IMG_2757

If I were una foodie inteligente, I’d have learned by now  that cereal is not an ideal breakfast para mi because it takes me two to three refills of that grande bowl to achieve my desired level of fullness.

Alas, I still cannot resist the allure of knowing exactly what I want upon waking. So, when it’s cereal, I eat cereal. And add as many peanut butter chips and raisins as I can fit into my grubby little manos.

I’m still quite partial to manzanas as mid-morning snacks.

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Despite the fact that an apple is an apple, any way you slice it, I still attempt to prettify my food.

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I still maintain that I hate pizza. Still, I regularly crave and consume pita pizzas.

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On this baked beauty: hummus, Laughing Cow, roasted eggplant and roasted red peppers.

I still have not acquired the will power, nor the desire, to use hummus as an ingredient and not dip into it for some on-the-side snackage.

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I’m still a freak of nature and thoroughly enjoy dipping grahams in hummus.

I’m still defying the laws of portion control and consuming nuts by the bowl. Opposed to blogland’s ever-so-popular nuts by the handful.

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Lo siento, but a handful of nuts has never been enough for me. (Insert far-too-obvious TWSS.) I know those who suffer from snackface syndrome agree.

I do still try to abide by my principles of balance. And so, I countered my abundant snackage with some abundant saladage.

, I am still all about the ensalada enorme for dinner.

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In the mix: bag of baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, shrooms, onion, cucumber, celery, avocado, strawberries, balls and shredded ched. Still into dressing my veggies with honey and balsamic.

I continued on my quest to get some more greens with something you know you’ve seen before.

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Still a full-fledged addiction.

I’m also still really into ensuring that carbs are included in every meal.

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Lastly, here’s a sprinkle of déjà vu that’s included every post.

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Never. Gets. Old.

What’s your eating estilo? Are you a creature of habit? Or do you an anti-meal repeater? I’m definitely a creature of habit. But I love experimenting with and tweaking my favorites—in part so I don’t bore you all, and in part so I keep my beloved tastebuds feliz.

Enjoy what’s left of your Groundhog’s Día!

Amor,

Sarah

The Happiest Place On Earth

Why, hello there, amigas!

As badly as I’d like to take this chica’s tweetvice (that’d be advice obtained via Twitter) and resume blogging as though I’d never left, I have this moral inkling that a one-and-a-half month hiatus warrants an explanation.

So here goes nada: Over the past month and a half, I could not uphold my blogging duties because I was undergoing extensive plastic surgery as part of my contract to appear on the new season of Extreme Makeover.

Ok, fine. That was an absolute mentira. But I felt the need to resort to a little “creative writing” because the truth is an utterly anti-climatic medley of mundane excuses. They go a little something like this: Took a long holiday vacación to Florida. Returned home to a broken computadora. Jetted off to spend New Year’s in D.C. before fixing la computadora. Waited almost a month for computadora to be returned.

Muy interesante, I know.

Oh, and there was one more thing that contributed to my fall off the blog-wagon.

Hermana was home for an entire month.

IMG_3357(Our interpretation of this old classic.)

Sí, hermana y yo were muy busy embracing sisterhood. By embracing sisterhood, I, of course, mean spending every waking moment together, cuddling on the couch/spooning in my bed, watching trashy television, meticulously managing our Netflix queue and baking.

Mucho, mucho baking of the Betty Crocker variety.

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You see, hermana was a little thrown off by my recent revelation that I like chocolate. And by thrown off, I mean she compulsively seized the opportunity to have a chocolate Eating Partner In Crime.

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I don’t have a final tally of how many batches of brownies we made during her month en casa. But I will say that, on multiple occasions, we made brownies at night, finished them by the morning, realized we wanted brownies for breakfast and whipped up a desayuno batch.

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So therein lies my excuse for my absence: brownies. Embarrassing.

Without further adieu, I’d like to:

  • apologize for my unannounced, lengthy hiatus one last time
  • profess my love for all (or, uh, any) faithful readers who’ve not yet written me off
  • plea that you invite me back into your lives (or Google Readers, same difference…)
  • dive headfirst back into this blog game with a recap of recaps.

Now, about that recap. I have over 1,000 foodie pictures on my camera. So, if I were into pulling all-nighters in order to relay everything I’ve been eating over the past month and a half, I’d take that approach. But, lucky for both you and me, I retired my all-nighter jersey when I graduated college. So, this recap of recaps is going to focus on the most memorably delicious part of my little  blogcation.

Brace yourself, mis foodies. I am about to introduce you to the happiest place on earth. Donde might this be?

LA CASA DE NANNY Y POPPY!

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La familia y yo took a Hannukah vacación to Florida, where my beloved abuelos reside. We visit them pretty frequently because (1) we love them, (2) we love el sol and (3) la casa de Nanny and Poppy pretty much equates to foodie heaven.

Familia amor + sol + comida = the happiest place on earth.

Let us embark upon this casa de Nanny y Poppy eatventure.

First up, desayuno.

Breakfast at la casa de Nanny y Poppy looks a lot like breakfast at home. This is mostly because it’s the only meal we (we being la hermana y yo) prepare for ourselves. You see, Nanny and Poppy are quite the fitnessista/os, and they wake up at the crack of dawn (read: 8 a.m.) to start their day with un poco exercise. Poppy’s been a pool boy (and by that I mean he’s been doing water aerobics), but Nanny’s into speed-demon walking. In any case, they’re done with their exercise and breakfast long before hermana y yo wake from our beauty slumber.

When we rise, we throw together the usual suspects and eat as quickly as possible so we can get out to the pool and get our tan on.

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Café. Greek yogurt + berries + syrup. Fresh fruta.

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Whole wheat bagel con veggie cream queso.IMG_3213

AB & J greek yogurt.

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Honey Sunshine + Publix dried cherries (EL MEJOR).

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Vitahugs.

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Más café con fresh fruta.

Atop that café is whipped crema because that’s how Nanny y Poppy do café.

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And that’s just one more reason why la casa de Nanny y Poppy is the happiest place on earth.

Let’s move along to almuerzo because it’s really the main event.

Shortly after concocting and consuming breakfast, hermana y yo throw on our bathing suits, grab upward of 2382938243747749 clementines for poolside snacking, bronze ourselves and wait for the call.

The call to which I refer is the happiest call on earth: Shirl’s happy hour call. Like clockwork, approximately three hours into our sisterly skin-baking, either my or hermana’s phone rings. It’s Shirl, summoning us to happy hour almuerzo.

In the magical land of Nanny and Poppy, lunch is not a meal, but rather a spread of deliciousness. Deliciousness y vino.

Let’s commence le tour de “lunch.”

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Mediterranean delicacies are always abundant.

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In the form of giant Sabra tubs.

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And marinated Greek olives.

But los abuelos make sure to embrace my latin obsesión, too.

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In the form of mexicana 7-layer dip.

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Y giant tubs of salsa.

Y, of course, guac.

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Other happy hour spreads include spinach, artichoke and parmesan dip and veggie cream cheese (mi amor).

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And crab cocktail. Fresh crab + cocktail sauce? ¡Sí, por favor!

Dipper options come in the form of amazingly fluffy flatbread.IMG_3185

Or, for crunchy carbage, chips:

Of the tortilla variety…

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…which are bueno, but pale in comparison to…

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…my dearly beloved FSTG multigrains.

There was also a nuevo addition to Shirl’s standard snack pack.

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Blue Ginger Multigrain Black Sesame & Sea Salt chips! These might be my new favoritos (lo siento, FSTG). They’ve got a soy crisp/thin Popchip texture going on, but they’re made with brown rice and pack SO MUCH flavor. I haven’t been able to find them in NYC, but when I do, I’m purchasing a life-supply. Rumor has it they’re only available in Costco and BJs. If you’re a member to either, buy them immediately. (And send some my way ;) .)

There are also, of course, crudités. For carb-baby-minimizing purposes.

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Endives are the best dippers because you can create little boats filled with endless dippage combinations. My go-to endive filler is hummus + salsa + olives.

And, as previously stated, happy hour always includes vino.

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Nanny says vino keeps her young because it keeps the blood moving through her veins. If her fountain of youth can be uncorked and consumed on a daily basis, I fully support Shirl’s staple Shiraz sippage.

Of course we can’t have vino without queso.

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Munster, Jarslberg (best swiss ever), Wensleydale cheese with cranberries (my and Nanny’s favorito) and a newbie, White Stilton cheese with spiced fruit. This was increible. It was the same creamy Stilton base as the cranberry queso, but the spiced fruit took it to a new level of cheesy perfection. If you’ve never tried the cranberry Stilton, do so immediately! And if you can find the spiced fruit Stilton (I haven’t been able to!), I promise it will change your vida.

Nanny added another newbie to our happy hour repertoire: fig cake with almonds.

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She knows I adore figs and Espana, so she snatched this up when she saw it. Further proof that she is la mejor Nanny del mundo.

It was muy interesante—and I think I would have loved it, except for the fact that it had anise. If there is one flavor I cannot tolerate, it’s licorice. So that sort of rained on what could’ve been a deliciously figgy parade. Ah, well…

And there you have the base of Nanny’s happy hour. I say “base” because what lies above, astonishingly, is not the whole almuerzo sha-bang. On different dias, Nanny improvises and throws in nuevo additions.

Sometimes that meant surprise Edible Arrangements.

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(Chocolate-covered manzanas are insane.)

Sometimes that meant an impromptu quesadilla fiesta.

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Con mango salsa.

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Sometimes that meant balls.

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Of the falafel variety.

Other almuerzo additions included fruity ensaladas.

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Con pomegranate arils, strawberries and other colorful delights.

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Egg white quiches!

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Broccoli and cheddar.

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Spinach and artichoke.

And while we’re on the topic of spinach and artichoke, let’s take a look at this lovely lunch addition.IMG_3257

Spinach, artichoke and parmesan-stuffed shrooms!

And on dias when Nanny was feeling fancy, she busted out baked mussels.

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Fun fact: Nanny’s favorite way to eat mussels is con vodka—in a shooter. Since we go a little heavy on the vino during happy hour, she figured we should skip the shooters. It’s all about moderation, people.

Let’s move along to cena.

Dinner always proves to be our most legitimate meal of the day because Nanny just may be the best cook en el mundo (though I’m sure every Jewish granddaughter says that about her Jewish grandmother). We’re often not hungry come dinnertime due to a hefty happy hour, but there is always room to be made for Nanny’s cooking.

First up, her famoso brisket.

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I don’t eat beef—but when I did, this was the only beef I ate. Nanny’s brisket sauce is seriously the best thing I’ve ever tasted. It’s sweet and savory, and delicious enough to make Little Sarah The Beef Hater go back for seconds. These days, I spoon out the sauce and put it on top of whatever else is on the table.

Like pollo.

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Nanny’s a doll and made a separate chicken and gravy dish for me on the night she served brisket. I rarely love chicken. Especially simply-prepared pollo. Nanny’s is the exception. Seriously, the woman is a culinary prodigy.

Alongside those meat dishes, we had some patatas.

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Half standard wedges, half sweet patatas porque hermana hates cheetahs and I fantasize about them. Further proof that Nanny is la mejor.

Otra noche she threw together an improvisational spicy sesame seafood stirfry with calamari, shrimp and scallops.

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It was TO DIE FOR.

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On le side was my personal favorite Nanny dish: peanut jasmine rice.

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Spicy, coconut-creamy, profusely peanut-y rice. Es ridiculo.

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She also made a simple rice side dish, likely anticipating that I’d make a considerable dent in my dearly beloved jasmine rice.

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More on the seafood front: baked salmon with mind-blowing mystery sauce and mind-blowing mystery topping (I know it involved olives, and I believed sun-dried tomatoes).

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Oh, we also eat veggies at la casa de Nanny y Poppy.

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Delicioso, but comparatively lame considered all of Shirl’s more elaborate creations.

This last meal can’t be accredited to Nanny, but it must be noted porque it was Poppy’s 78th birthday dinner!

We went to an amazing Greek restaurante in South Florida. I forget the name, but it was fantastic.

My foodie familia (yo included) devoured the ridiculously fluffy pita wedges and hummus prior to picture-taking.

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We started with ensalada y sopa.

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I actually hate restaurant salads. I’ve gotten so used to making my own pimped-out ensaladas that restaurant starter salads never seem appealing. The veggie and bean sopa, however, was spot-on.

Other appetizers included a Mediterranean antipasto plato.

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And escargot con eggplant.

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I can’t remember what this was, or by whom it was consumed for that matter, but I liked the plate :) .

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Same goes for this guy. I’ve no idea what’s hiding beneath that pool of cheese and sauce.

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I do know that this was Poppy’s birthday dish: lamb.

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The man adores his chops.

I went with a white snapper with an olive, caper and tomato sauce, which was heavenly. I’m mildly obsessed with any seafood dish that features capers. Throw olives into the mix, and this chica’s salt tooth is sufficiently satisfied.

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Gah, now I want to go back to Florida so I can eat this.

Hermana ordered a delicioso chicken Madeira with feta and sautéed shrooms.

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Dessert was flourless chocolate cake.

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It was ridiculously rich, in a bueno way, and its texture was sort of a brownie-pudding-cake hybrid. Muy feliz that I discovered my likeness for chocolate prior to this vacation.

Oh, I also discovered the most delicious tea ever. Stash’s Vanilla Nut Creme. I haven’t been able to find it anywhere, but it was A-MAZ-ING. I’m determined to hunt it down.

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That’s the last of my Floridian meals, but while we’re on the dessert topic I’d like to share this late-night combo I grew fond of during my stay at la casa de Nanny y Poppy.

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Ice cream + kettle corn.

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Best. Dessert. Ever. I think I may have found a way to appease both my veteran popcorn addiction and my newfound sweet tooth.

On that note, I’ll conclude this monstruo post. But not before I remind you all, just one last time, how much I’ve missed blogmundo and how ridiculously elated I am to be back!

1.5 months-worth of amor,

Sarah

Indecision 2009

Title courtesy of:

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Marry me, por favor.

But let’s address this whole Indecision 2009 thing. No, I’m not spewing out another political rant. I’m simply deeming yesterday the most indecisive food day of 2009. My cravings were either conflicting, ambiguous or non-existent—which made for a day full of the “I don’t know what to eat” bah humbugs. (In case you were wondering, that is official medical terminology.)

Indecisive quandary #1: Eggs or oats?

Decision: Both.

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In le bowl: 1/2 cup oats cooked in 1 cup water; espinacas; 3 egg whites; melty queso mexicana y salsa.

Indecision worked in my favor here because I got to experience the best of both breakfast worlds.

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Incredible. If ever you find yourself in an eggs-or-oats-dilemma, I strongly suggest you allow the opposing forces to collaborate.

Indecisive quandary #2: Apples or oranges?

Decision: Neither.

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Pretty persimmon to the rescue.

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Mostly because neither apples nor oranges are photogenic. And oranges are quite possibly the most annoying fruit to peel.

Indecisive quandary #3: Cream cheese + hot sauce or hummus + hot sauce?

Decision: Again, both.

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One of the reasons I adore sandwich thins, English muffins or, uh, your standard duo of dos pieces of bread: they are muy indecision-friendly.

So, who wore it better? (It being the sriracha, of course…)

The Sabra-sriracha combination never disappoints…

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…but Philadelphia took this round.

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So much so that lunch parte dos also featured cream queso.

Indecisive quandary #4: Cream cheese or American?

Decision: Fine—this wasn’t a quandary. I knew I wanted both.

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I realize this was a fruit and veggie-less, carbarific lunch. But on such an indecisive food day—when I knew exactly what I wanted, I ran with it.

Fear not, I got my fruits and veggies in later.

Afternoon snackage brought on a repeat of indecisive quandary #2. This time, the decision was both.

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Consumption and documentation of both affirmed my previous statements. Apples and oranges are not nearly as photogenic as persimmons. And oranges are a female perro to peel.

Indecisive quandary #5: Sopa o ensalada?

Decision: Eating a lot of Panera’s You Pick Two made this one easy. Both.

Simple ensalada.

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In the mix: baby spinach, avocado, cucumbers, shrooms, onions, celery, strawberries and salsa. Con celery salt and honey balsamic.

The sopa hailed from a can.

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I’ve never tried this type before—and I usually find Progresso soups sort of watered-down—but this was really good!

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It had mucho in the way of barley, corn y patatas—and I will definitely get it again.

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And because I’m a devout carb chica, adding a third component to dinner was another easy decision.

Especially since I had a hefty stash of fresh whole wheat pita, along with a tub of Sabra just asking to be polished off.

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Dessert is one part of my day that almost never involves indecision. The answer is almost always…

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I realize most of my decisions involved finding a way to cater to both of my conflicting cravings. I figure if there’s a way to keep everyone my stomach feliz—why not? How do you respond to food indecisiveness? (Otherwise known as the I don’t know what to eat” bah humbugs…)

Happy jueves, mis foodies!

Amor,

Sarah

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