Weekend Discoveries: v. Hermana

This weekend, I discovered…

I have the best hermana en el mundo!

(Ok, so maybe I’d realized this at some point prior to this weekend, you know, throughout our 20 years of sisterhood… But this weekend confirmed mi amor.)

¿Por qué?

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No, not because she loves Little Cupcake as much as I do.

(Though having a Little Cupcake Eating Partner In Crime definitely warrants bonus points.)

monkey mel

No, not because she resembles a cute capuchin monkey—and has endured the nickname Monkey Mel since I came up with it when I was eight.

I have the best sister in the world because she knows me better than anyone else.

She knows the way to my heart.

And she delivers.

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¡Sí! Hermana came home bearing lots of edible gifts!

She knows that I’ve been in withdrawal from my favorite brand of Kettle Corn (they haven’t had it in my local supermarkets for months!), D.C. bin candy and my favorite pretzels (which I’ve also had trouble finding in NYC).

She’d intended to just pick up those items, but she’s the world’s greatest E.P.I.C and decided to surprise me with some of my favorite things.

Like a naughty nut butter trio.

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I’ve never tried any of these, and I can’t wait to dig in!

And calcium gummies! I adore edible calcium supplements.

IMG_2325I’m going to do my best to practice self-control with these l’il critters.

Another hermana discovery:

While la chica knows how to induce elation—by way of goodie-giving—she also knows how to induce nausea…

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…by way of disgusting, legendary bruise-showing.

I got over the nausea thing pretty quickly upon realization that I finally had access to popcorn again!

Wherein I discovered that when a popcorn fiend is deprived of kernel comfort for approximately 2 weeks, polishing off a bag solo is no problemo.

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I only wish I had footage of my carnal consumption of this sweet and salty wonder.

How I’ve missed thee. I am vowing, here and now, that I will never again permit popcorn to go on such a haphazard hiatus.

Another made-possible-by-Melissa discovery:

Godiva Chocolate Truffle Coffee!

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I think this purchase involved some self-interest because she loves chocolate and I, uh, don’t.

That said, I definitely had ~38439848239 cups. IMG_2348

And, actually, I loved it. And she didn’t! It was very strong (not usually a characteristic of flavored coffee)—which I enjoyed, but hermana did not.

And the chocolate sabor… SO GOOD! I think my taste buds are going through puberty or something…

In the way of Oat Discoveries:

Reese’s Oat Bran

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Oat bran cooked in water and cocoa powder; topped with peanut butter and chocolate chips… and a Reese’s cup

I know K’s been on this para siempre, but this was my first foray into cocoa-sweetened oats.

Further proof that my taste buds are in some transitional phase: I LOVED the cocoa oats. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t even recognize my reflection anymore…

Next oat discovery is not so much a discovery, in that I’ve created in many times before. However, it was new to la hermana.

If I recall the conversation correctly, Melissa called to me, with more pride and eagerness than I’ve ever heard in her voice:

“Oh my god! Sarah! You know how I love apples and peanut butter? What if… you made me oatmeal… WITH apples and peanut butter!?!?”

Her zeal and oat-innocence were so endearing that I immediately whipped up her request.

PB and Manzana Oats

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Old-fashioned oats topped with one gala “baked” in maple syrup, cinnamon and almond milk, plus PB chips and a PB spoon.

I am beyond thrilled that Melissa is venturing into more “complex” oat bowls because she usually just requests an instant apple and cinnamon packet. I doubt she’ll concoct oat creations while away at school because she’s the laziest eater ever—but I’ll gladly encourage and facilitate her evolving taste buds when she’s en casa.

But el fin de’s BEST oat creation…

Cheesecake Oat Bran

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I cooked 1/2 cup oat bran in 1 and 1/4 cup water—mixing in cream cheese, a liiiittttle bit of Smart Balance butter, vanilla extract and Truvia when the oat bran was almost done.

(The mix-ins were inspired by the recipe I use for cream cheese frosting.)

After, I topped the cream cheesy mixture with crushed grahams, Truvia, another dollop of cream cheese and cinnamon.

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Ooooooooooh my GAH. This was INCREDIBLE. So ridiculously sweet and cream cheesy.

I’m sorry I don’t have exact measurements for the mix-ins—but if you’d like me to re-create it soon and measure ze goods out, I guess I’d be okay with that…

Check out the under layers of creaminess.

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Not to toot my own trompa, but this is one of my best DPAABS to date.

In the way of super-artificial-but-let’s-be-serious-a-little-won’t-kill-you discoveries…

S’mores Goldfish!!!

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I wasn’t in love with these—but they sounded too interesting not to try. Not to send you mixed signals with my whole I-love-it-I-love-it-not stance on chocolate—but I really was not feeling the chocolate fishies. I sort of just ate the honey graham pescados because that is one flavor I have completely unfaltering favoritism toward.

Sort of like pretzels… which brings me to my next awesomely artificial weekend discovery.

When you find ice cream that features your favorite pretzels… covers them in chocolate…

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and then reminds you that it’s an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D

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And you think to yourself, “Hmm… I’ve had two stress fractures in the past year… I could probably use some extra calcium and vitamin D…”

There is really no excuse not to eat said ice cream.

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Turkey Hill Chocolate Pretzel Ice Cream!

Biggest chocolate pretzels chunks I’ve ever encountered in ice cream! Get it!

Now, onto some Microwave Madness discoveries…

In doing my best to feed my sister the non-college eats she was craving—in a kitchen-less environment—I learned several lessons in make-shiftism.

Microwaved “fried rice” is possible.

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Microwave Uncle Ben’s brown rice. Top with veggies and chicken marinated and microwaved in Soy Vay. Microwave egg whites, “scramble” and add to the bowl. Top with mucho mas Soy Vay.

Uh, this took approximately 10 minutes to make. And it was delicious.

When la hermana requests a Greek egg scramble, the microwave can make it happen.

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Two eggs microwaved. Topped with roasted red peppers, spinach, oil-cured black olives and mucho feta.

When you have an inexplicable love for McGriddles—but haven’t had one for four years after going a little loco with them in high school—you can seek solace in a…

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Kashi waffle toasted and topped with 2 tbsp maple syrup. Topped with two microwaved egg whites, vegan American cheese and ketchup.

I was originally going to sandwich the eggs and cheese between two maple syrupy waffles—a la the real McGriddle—but I didn’t want the innards to get lost in too much waffle. (Melissa and I debated this for about 1/2 hour, ultimately deciding that the creation would taste better open-faced.) So, inspired by Allie’s waffle mountains, a McGriddle mountain was born.

NUEVO OBSESSION.

Onto a random discovery…

I find de-seeding pomegranates strangely therapeutic…

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Fruit affection.

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And a few final familia discoveries, to bring this post full-circle…

Children—especially those who resemble Dora—are hilarious.

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Upon walking into my house and noticing that the kitchen is no longer in existence, Gigi did not ask what happened to the kitchen. Instead, she asked, with utter confusion in her ojos:

Where are all the figs?”

She completely disregarded the absence of, uh, a KITCHEN, and was solely concerned with why she didn’t have access to our usual fig stash. (We have a fig tree, so we always have figs en mi casa.)

Sometimes I wonder how we’re NOT related.

I also learned that when la hermana has to unexpectedly drive back to school early for a sorority cosa, you show your love con comida.

Making use of another weekend discovery, Sabra’s new tzatziki dip (amazing!!)…

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I made Monkey Mel a Greek pita, stuffed with all of her favorite things.

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Feta, oil-cured black olives, chicken coated in Sabra and baked, onions and tzatziki dip.

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Certainly not the most car-friendly food—but necessarily well-rounded in comparison to her road trip snacks of choice…

I mentioned she likes chocolate, right?

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A lot.

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Healthiest snack of the bunch.

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And baked cheetos—which made me laugh because I thought of una amiga’s recent Cheeto rant.

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With the comfort that she’d at least not go hungry, I bid mi hermana adieu.

And just as I was beginning to miss my monkey sis, I received the greatest e-mail from my beautiful cousin Christina.

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She’d just discovered my blog and wrote me an e-mail letting me know she likes it.

An excerpt:

From reading your blog, I now know you are obsessed with:

1.. Oats

2.Coffe

3.Vegan Cheese

4.Apples

5.Cinimon

6.Cream Cheese

7.Hummus

8.Turkey

9.Popchips (What are those anyways?)

10.Popcorn

11Pickles

12.Kitkats

13Froyo

14Almond butter

15Salad

16.Peanut sause

This seriously made my night. So, gracias, Christina!

Also, could she have consolidated the essence of who I am into a 16-point list any more accurately? I think not…

With that, I conclude the longest weekend recap ever.

I hope all of your weeks are off to great start!

-Sarah

The One Where I Didn’t Snack

Anyone know which 90s sitcom influenced this post’s title?

If not, I’ll leave you hanging ‘til my weekend recap. But I have a feeling most of you will get the whole “the one” part.

But, yea, yesterday I didn’t snack. At all. This is muy muy raro for me because I always graze between meals. I don’t always photograph my in between snackage because it’s usually a predictable pretzel, nuts or something-to-dip-in-hummus shebang. Pero, evidencia o no evidencia, you can be sure I wear my snackface on a daily basis.

Except yesterday. Yesterday I was in and out of the house all day, mostly just stopping in for meals. I think my brain/stomach/respect for my mood knows when snacking isn’t going to happen—and makes up for it with grande meals. At least this was the case ayer.

La mañana commenced with cafe.

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No, I don’t live in a cool padded room. (Though, I suppose that wouldn’t actually be cool because padded rooms usually translate to psych wards…) My coffee just happens to be sitting pretty atop my new sticky yoga mat.

¿Por qué? Porque I enjoyed my java after testing out my new toy! ¡Sí! I got my morning yoga on with a 20-minute yogadownload podcast. It was so relaxing, and such a perfecto way to start the day.

After laying on my yoga mat, chugging sipping several cups of coffee and Reader-ing (that’s a verb, right?), I broke for breakfast.

Sweet ‘n Salty Oat Bran

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In the mix: 1/3 cup oat bran cooked in 1 cup water, 1/2 banana and vanilla extract; topped with 1/2 microwaved honeycrisp (cooked in cinnamon and almond milk and topped with maple syrup), superrrr salty nuts, raisins and a packet of Truvia.

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And admire that heaping mound of sweet ‘n salty goodness.

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Oooooooh my gah. This OB bowl was so ridiculously satisfying and FILLING. I did have the other 1/2 of the honeycrisp on the side—but this kept me perfectly full ‘til I had lunch at 2. Considering I did no snackage, this is sort of an anomaly for moi.

I have feeling the magic was in the nuts… ;) .

Lunch wasn’t glamorous—but it was good and quick and microwave-friendly. All things muy importante to me right now.

A big bowl of minestrone soup.

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Like biiiiiig. This bowl is massive, and my eats almost never surpass the half-full mark. This soup almost reached the top.

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Mmmm, I love big bowls of soup. This felt never-ending—which I enjoyed because it was so delicioso.

On the side I had a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese and melted vegan American cheese.

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If you’ve never combined cream cheese and American, do it. I initially yucked una amiga’s yum when I saw her eat a bagel with these toppings; but upon trying the combo, I fell in love. You will too.

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Dinner has more parts that unusual—likely due to the fact that I did less snacking than usual.

Part Uno: Ensalada Enorme

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In the mix: mucho baby spinach, roasted red peppers, honey maple turkey, cucumbers, orange bell pepper, steamed broccoli, balsamic-marinated shrooms, FSTG lime tortilla chips.

Lo siento for that condensation but I decided to branch out from my balsamic dressing combos (you know, honey balsamic and spicy mustard balsamic) and try one of those creepy spritz spray dressings. No me gusta. I couldn’t even taste the dressing—despite using 2 servings worth of sprays. So, I ended up dousing la ensalada in balsamic to undo any dressing damage.

Did the trick. As always, this was GOOOOOD. As always, the FSTG lime chips made the salad. The honey maple turkey was pretty clutch, too.

Part Dos: 1/2 whole wheat pita with melted French Onion Laughing Cow.

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In case you didn’t know what LC looks like?

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Or needed to be updated on my current polish choice?

I let the microwave heat things up for 30 seconds while I busted out the roasted red pepper hummus.

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The cheesy pita got real friendly with the Sabra, and before I knew it… Sabra was no more.

Part Tres: Orange Overload

I know I should’ve been done with dinner at this point, but such was not the case. I was still hungry, and I’d already planned on it being a cheetah night. My cheetah lovahs know that once you tell your taste buds they are getting some cheetah action, the craving doesn’t subside ‘til they get their fix.

So, you understand, these were necessary.

Cheeeeeeeeetahs. And, do you see another better n’ fries component in the back?

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Carrot fries! There were like 15 because I burnt half the batch. My b.

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So, pregunta, which do you prefer—carrot or sweet potato fries?

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I’ve no answer to this query; they are both mind-blowingly good in my book.

So, that was my day of snacklessness. Clearly I deprived myself…

Oh, I forgot to mention.

I did have dessert. But that’s a different genre than the snack, sí?

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Kashi 7 grain puffs with almond milk, Truvia, cinnamon and spoonful of almond butter.

Because clearly a three-part dinner wasn’t enough…

Ok, mis personas favoritas, I have to run (sorry if this post was rushed!) because la hermana is on her way home for a weekend visit. You know this means I’ll be back on Monday with some E.P.I.C. eats :) .

Asian Persuasion

Mi gente guapa, it has been too long!

Once again…

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And by computer, I mean Windows Live Writer. That pestilent publishing program went on a 48-hour post binge. Every time I wrote—and re-wrote and re-wrote—a post on Tuesday and Wednesday, WLW swallowed it. I’ve uninstalled and re-installed the program, and I’m crossing my fingers that this post finds its way into the blogosphere.

Some muy delicioso eats were had on Monday and Tuesday, but I’m sure you can understand that, after uploading those meals/writing the accompanying posts for the last two days, I have no desire to look at those photos any longer. Just takes me to a bad place…

Worry not. This simply means that I will have to re-create all of Monday’s and Tuesday’s goodies in the very near future :) .

So, miércoles:

While this appears to be a standard cup of coffee, it’s actually Mama Pea’s pumpkin latte.

My version didn’t get as wondrously foamy as hers due to my lack of a Magic Bullet, but it was magically pumpkiny nonetheless.IMG_2211

1/2 cup almond milk, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and Truvia vigorously shaken and then added to a cup of coffee

Mama Pea, me gusta your version mucho mejor than Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte. Even without the bonita foam :) .

Breakfast featured THE BIG APPLE. As in, you’ve got some serious competition, NYC. This organic New Zealand Braeburn was GRANDE.

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Into the bfast mix also went a much more rationally-sized apple good: AppleBerry Vita.

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And voila

Peachy Keen Apples and Cream

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1/2 of the Frankenstein Braeburn—microwaved in cinnamon, almond milk and brown sugar—and the thawed VitaTop got friendly with a container of cream peach yogurt for a 3-way yogurt hug, a la K.

Glorious. For once, I didn’t turn this bowl into a complete mess post-food photog. I’m finding I prefer keeping my Vitas in tact during loving yogurt embraces; it makes it easier to create perfect big-chunk-o-Vita bites.

As for the the AppleBerry flavor, it was bueno not fantástico. I’m not sure I’d ever enjoy a bran Vita on its own; but it is SO perfecto in the company of a little dairy amor. (This makes me wonder: would a Vita be good chopped up and eaten with milk? Curioso…)

I ate the other half of the world’s biggest apple straight up, and down to the core. While I love sliced apples accompanied by the always aesthetically pleasing nut butter drizzle or cinnamon sprinkle, it is so satisfying to just bite into a big one every now and then. (Channeling Michael Scott…)

I continued on this apple-venture when I got snacky before lunch. All out of monster manzanas, I went for a medium-sized honeycrisp.

Cinnamon Sugar Fruit Cereal

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By now, you know how much I adore fruit cereal, right? I know I’m not alone on this one.

I usually add almonds, figs, raisins and whatever other dried fruit I have on hand—but I wanted the honeycrisp-cinnamon-sugar trio to be the stars of this fruit cereal bowl. (Those first-class figs always have a way of making themselves the featured flavor, don’t they?)

So this fruit cereal mix was simply:

1 honeycrisp, chopped; 1 tbsp. flax, cinnamon, Truvia and 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk.

I let it marinate in the fridge for about 10 minutes—G-d only knows how I mustered up that self-control—because I think fruit cereal is exponentially more flavorful when the fruit really soaks up the almond milk flavor.

Cinnamony, sugary Truvia-y Honeycrisp perfección

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This bowl of flavor exquisiteness confirmed a theory I’ve been developing regarding Truvia. It is best enjoyed as a topping/sweetener in solid foods—oatmeal, fruit, etc. In coffee or tea? Eh, liquids really don’t amplify Truvia’s sweetness potential. It tastes so different when combined with solids versus liquids. This said, I think I’ll be sticking to either regular sugar or no sugar in my coffee, and enjoying this sweet stevia in oat bowls and such.

Now, lunch gets to the title of this post.

You know how I’ve been sort of obsessed with cheesy savory oats?

Well, yesterday, I ventured back into Asian savory oat-dom.

The first bowl of savory oats to ever woo me was of the Asian persuasion—so I feel guilty for neglecting this delicious breed in favor its cheesy brethren as of late.

And so, I decided it was time for the Chew and the Asian savory oat bowl to reunite.

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In the mix: 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats cooked in 1 cup of water, 1 tbsp. soy sauce and—a new HIGHLY RECOMMENDED addition—1 tbsp. Soy Vay; topped with steamed baby carrots, broccoli and sriracha.

Soy Vay is majestic. Whenever I go without it for a while, I forget how incredible its flavor is—along with the fact that it makes anything taste better. Seriously. Anything.

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I’m not going rank Asian oats against their cheesy contender. They are both unfailingly satisfying and flavorfully impressive. Special in their own ways ;) .

Shortly after, I got snacky with some highly addictive Newman’s Own Organics protein pretzels. I was just about to dub them the best of Newman’s pretzel line, but it looks like Fitness Magazine beat me to the punch, going a step further by naming them the best healthy pretzel option. Congrats, Newm!

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I might even like these as much as my beloved Snyder’s Organic Oat Bran babies…

Later, dinner gave into a little Asian persuasion. Mostly because once the Soy Vay hits your lips, the craving sticks ;) .

This (re)creation fed off my penchant for plagiarism. My favorite wrap from my favorite local healthy salad/sandwich shop, Nature’s Grill, is called the Teriyaki Terrific.

It’s teriyaki chicken stir-fried with rice and veggies and throw in a wrap. It is—fittingly—terrific. Even so, I’ve always thought that the rice + wrap combo is a little carb-heavy. (This is coming from el mundo’s #1 carb-loader/lover. I did the Atkins and South Beach shenanigans in high school and learned a lesson in love carbs. The clichés are true: You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. Distance makes the heart grow fonder. During carb deprivation, I realized that YO QUIERO CARBS—PARA SIEMPRE.)

So last night, in the midst of my plagiarism process, I decided to 86 the rice and add some Sabra.

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Whole wheat wrap, roasted red pepper Sabra hummus, fresh baby spinach, diced chicken, roasted red peppers, steamed broccoli, carrots, and sugar snap peas. Doused in Soy Vay—to ensure teriyaki terrificness.

I love how Soy Vay is so filled with sesame seeds! Mmmm.

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Magic en mi boca.

On ze side: carrot fries & honey mustard.

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These little guys were actually baby carrot fries. No kitchen=no peeling of the big boys, so baby carrots had to suffice.

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Tasted the same as the big brother carrot fries. Shocker.

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They were cuter, though.

Dessert options have been ridiculously unsatisfying because I am still out of popcorn. ALL I WANT IS POPCORN + SRIRACHA.

However, my pop-ish snack last time was wonderful.

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Barbeque Popchips! Barbeque is my favorite chip flavor—so these had some seriously savory shoes to fill. I LOVED them! I think they are tied with the sea salt and vinegar—both incredible!

Oh yea, I also had these.

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After a weekend of Halloween-induced INDULGENCIAS, I’d intended to swear off candy (particularly Kit Kats, Reese’s and Twix) for a while. But, my Pilates instructor pawned these off on us—and I hadn’t had any Skittles this weekend, sooooooo

Ok, amigas, I am glad to be back! Hope everyone’s Thursday is delicioso y divertido!

-Sarah

Weekend Discoveries: v. Halloween

During this festive fall weekend, I discovered…

-Not all orange-hued foods are created equal.

For example, cantaloupe yogurt is not nearly as delicious as last weekend’s pumpkin pie yogurt discovery. 

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What possessed me to purchase cantaloupe yogurt? I knew it’d either be amazing or disgusting, and—as usual—my culinary curiosity got the best of me. Unfortunately, it was the latter; there are certain flavors—like watermelon—that I love in their real fruit form but detest in any replicated version. I’m going to have to add cantaloupe into that category.

However, there is an orange flavor that, as of late, I am loving almost as much as pumpkin.

GINGER!

-My newest ginger addiction:

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These are fantástico! Along with my calcium gummies and chocolates, I’m going to need to remind myself that these are not candy.

-In light of last week’s reflections of the unifying powers of food, I made several attempts to marry my current foodie obsessions.

For example:

-Honey maple turkey and pickles:

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-Cream cheese (veteran obsession) and vegan American cheese (amateur obsession):

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-Spicy mustard balsamic dressing and honey maple turkey:

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I’m sure you’re sick of the whole honey maple turkey enthusiasm by now—but, seriously, combined with this:

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(which I am aware looks like vomit)

‘tis delightful!

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Next, taking note of the fact that I’ve been doing some cheesy savory oats damage, I decided to foray into cheesy savory OAT BRAN.

Dare I say it was mejor than cheesy savory oats?

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The Laughing Cow was infinitely more creamy and abundant in the oat bran version.

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It was rather addicting.

By that, I mean numerous cheesy savory oat bran bowls were replicated throughout the weekend.

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I also discovered that it is not only acceptable, but encouraged, to celebrate Thanksgiving on Halloween.

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Turkey, spinach, brie and raspberry preserves on whole wheat toast.

So long as you do so on a pumpkin-imbued plate.

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And do your best to make up for your wrong-holiday celebrations

by consuming muchos muchos Kit Kats.

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…and going all-out with your costume.

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Yes, as many of you guessed, I was THE HAMBURGLAR.

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“Robble, robble.”

I hope everyone had an amazing Halloween weekend! Por favor, dime: What’d you dress up as? What was the most creative costume you saw?

-Sarah

The Universality of Oats and Sandwiches

As you may have heard, yesterday was National Oatmeal Day.

In homage to my dearly beloved, I ate my oats accordingly. And as a very oatriotic individual, I paid tribute on multiple occasions.

We’ll get to those oats eats in a bit.

Thursday morning started off on a good note.

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(Yes, I get CNN texts…)

Economic growth? Greater likelihood of employment? Me gusta esto.

With the ring of the doorbell, Thursday got progressively better.

Sir UPS delivered the best Annie’s goodie bag ever!

A couple weeks ago, I won an Annie’s contest on Twitter (simply by guessing that one of the ingredients in their 5-Grain Elbows was spelt). The prize?

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An Annie’s reusable shopping bag, cheddar bunnies, bunny graham friends, 2 boxes of mac & cheese and 2392389229 pouches of bunny fruit snacks!

Oh, and the best part…

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An adorable Annie’s Homegrown tee!

This T-shirt is the antithesis of a standard company tee. You know those usual oversized, stiff cotton freebies? Annie’s company tee is perfectly fitted (how did they know I wasn’t an XL hombre?) and the softest thing I’ve ever felt (it’s a cotton-bamboo blend!).

I love the back ;) .

IMG_2124I thought about modeling it for you guys–but ultimately decided against the whole MySpace webcam thing. So not my style;) .

I can’t wait to rock this to yoga and/or pilates and make all my hippie classmates ridiculously jealous. Why am I such a nice person?

The morning continued on its upward curve of positivity when I learned that it was National Oatmeal Day.

To help explain why I believe this national holiday is one of utmost importance, I’m going to turn to some dialogue from last night’s episode of 30 Rock:

Liz Lemon: You want to paint me as this New York snob… Can I share with you my world view? All of humankind has one thing in common: the sandwich. I believe that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich.

Jack: What a surprise. Your world view is food-based…

Amen, Lizzie. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to be friends with a fictional character more so than with Liz Lemon.

I wholeheartedly agree with Lemon’s world view. But I think this principle of universality also applies to oatmeal. I believe that all of foodbloglandkind has one thing in common: oatmeal. I believe that all any food blogger really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a bowl of oats.

And so I did.

Remember when I discovered ice cream oats? Oddly enough, I haven’t recreated them since. And I figured N.O.D. was the perfection occasion for some celebratory hot n’ cold oats.

So, I recreated my Vanilla Bean Irish Oats.

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1/4 cup Irish oats cooked in water, vanilla extract, brown sugar and cinnamon; topped with a generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream

With a simple fruity addition, this indulgent bowl of oats reached a new level…

Apple Oats a La Mode

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I “baked” one chopped honey crisp apple in a little almond milk, cinnamon and Truvia—and covered the vanilla bean oats in an extra layer of sweet warmth.

As you can see, this accelerated the melting process.

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This was not a bad thing.

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I truly, truly believe that oatmeal has the divine power to unify mankind and achieve world peace.

If not, perhaps Liz Lemon got it right: There are always sandwiches.

And so a sandwich I ate.

Around lunchtime, I was faced with dueling cream cheese & jelly and cream cheese & apple cravings.

I went with the whole sandwich unification theorem and allowed my cravings to become allies.

Cream Cheese & Jelly & Honeycrisp Sandwich 

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It was truly harmonious. And ridiculously delicious.

Filling? Not so much.

I microwaved some green beans, melted my new favorite vegan cheese on top, and added garlic powder and sriracha.

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I’d say cheese was another universal wonder; but, alas, there exist vegans who would quickly shoot that one down.

Lo siento for the less-than-glamorous and quite random lunch, but I threw it together as I was getting ready to do some Halloween costume shoppage.

I packed mall provisions—simply because if I get hungry mid-shopping, there’s nothing in the world that can come between me and an Auntie Anne’s pretzel. Nada.

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And a new fruity gum flavor—in case the smoothie stands started calling to me.

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(This was blech. The flavor lasted for .5 seconds. Luckily, the smoothie stands decided not to holler at me.)

After some quality brainstorming and mall scrounging with mi amiga mejor, I got a costume! Success!

I came home famished. So dinner came quickly, in two delicious divisions.

Part Uno: Ensalada

I was set on incorporating both honey maple turkey and FSTG lime tortilla chips into my dinner. The result:

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In the mix: 3 cups baby spinach, orange baby pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, 3 slices honey maple turkey and crushed handful of FSTG lime chips.

I diverged from my standard honey balsamic dressing—and threw together a quick spicy mustard-balsamic combo. Aaaamazing. Could be my new favorite…

As always, the stars were front and center.

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People, por favor, add lime FSTG chips to your next salad creation. It is indescribably life/salad-changing. My bag is nearing its end. But I will be purchasing another to ensure future ensalada greatness.

In the spirit of further milking N.O.D., I recreated my Double Cheesy Egg Scrambly Oats.

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This time with one French Onion Laughing Cow wedge and one Original, and broccoli and roasted red peppers in place of spinach and tomatoes.

Spicy egg scramble piled high:

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Ridiculous Laughing Cow infusion:

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Messy, cheesy, eggy, srirachy gloriousness:

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So incredibly satisfying and filling that no dessert was had. (Fine, a few bites of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. But they were straight out of the carton, and there’s no proof. Soooo…)

And now, Halloween weekend commences. I will reveal this year’s costume in Monday’s weekend recap.

For now, a hint: my costume involves stealing something I’d never eat. Any guesses?

If it helps inform your speculation at all, my costumes are almost always embarrassing. And assuredly never sexy.

Case in point: last year’s costume.

trolls!

Yes. We were troll dolls. This involved gallivanting las calles of downtown D.C. in nude unitards, wherein we learned that nude unitards are never socially acceptable. Not even on Halloween.

It was hilarious.

This is my first Halloween in 4 years without my orange and pink troll amigas, a.k.a Rachael and Hilary; I’m going to miss their willingness to partake in my penchant for self-deprecating dress-up. (They are being Doug Funnie and Patty Mayonnaise this year!)

However, I’m keeping my humiliating Halloween spirit alive in NYC, during what is sure to be a wild weekend.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

-Sarah

First and Foremost, I Must Say…

HAPPY NATIONAL OATMEAL DAY!

This, I am sure, is a legitimate holiday because it is currently a trending topic on Twitter. (Cough, follow me, cough.)

I had an epic bowl of oats esta mañana. But you’ll have to wait ‘til tomorrow to hear about those. Today, it’s all about my hump day happenings. (Side note: I secretly HATE the term “hump day.” I don’t know when I decided to initiate it into my official Wednesday vocabulary. I blame blogland.)

Hump-día (cue cringe slash giggle) kicked off with an affectionate cup of coffee.IMG_2017 Are you trying to tell me something, cinnamon?

Hazelnut creme coffee with almond milk, Truvia and una corazón de cinnamon.

I know I’ve only mentioned this briefly, but I’ve been trying really hard to nix my Splenda addiction usage. Microwave Madness Month has made this pretty easy because, with my kitchen’s contents currently residing in my living room, I’m not exactly sure where the Splenda is. I’ve been drinking my coffee without sweetener—though sometimes with a little equally-artificial Coffee Mate creamer—and I’m getting pretty used to it.

That said, I wanted to try Truvia in my cafe to see how it compared both to Splenda and plain sugar. ‘Twas splendid. I’ve missed sweet coffee; I think I was just convincing myself that I liked plain old milk & coffee because my Truvia-enhanced cup was the most enjoyable java I’ve had in weeks.

I’ve gotten several e-mails and comments asking me about Truvia’s taste, but I want to get a bit more acclimated in my Truvia testing before reporting back. From this cup—along with my Truvia-sweetened oats—I’ve found that it has a milder sweetness than both Splenda and cane sugar. One packet of Truvia won’t deliver the same sweetness strength as a packet of Splenda; but it also possesses no semblance of Splenda’s artificial taste. So far, me gusta.

After throwing a few back, I got around to eating.

Breakfast began with this.

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I heeded the lid’s advice, and decided to spread the great taste of almonds.

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No, not by filling the entire, nearly empty jar with a “baked” honeycrisp apple.

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Though, that appears to be the case.

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I assure you this almond love-spreading had a bit more substance.

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Which came in the form of oat bran in a jar!

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1/2 cup oat bran microwaved with 1 1/4 cup water, 1/2 frozen banana, and cinnamon. Topped with 1/2 honeycrisp apple “baked” in cinnamon and maple syrup. And topped again with más cinnamon and maple syrup.

Much like last time, I allowed the steamy oats to melt down the almond buttah walls by returning the lid while the apple “baked” in the microwave. I followed this up with some vigorous jar shaking.

I think this method worked…IMG_2034

Later, as I was snacking on my newest addiction—which I must remind myself is a vitamin, not a snack

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…I received this text from la hermana.

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It’s not as random as it seems. Luntz is a political strategist for whom I used to work, and Melissa—who is studying international environmental policy—likes to keep me up to date on companies/people who are or aren’t environmentally friendly. The POM part of the text reminded me that I received some POM Iced Coffee to try a few weeks back.

I went for the chocolate flavor.

IMG_2071 This tasted like straight up chocolate milk. Someone who likes chocolate milk would adore this drink; I, however, am not someone who likes chocolate milk. I sipped my way through about half before giving up on it. Ah, what could have been…

The chocolate milk/coffee whet my appetite before I was ready to prep lunch, so I had a container of plain greek yogurt with Fiber One and cinnamon.IMG_1616

This was my first Oikos ever! I want to try it sans cereal before comparing it to my beloved Fage. But from what I can tell from my cereal-mixed-in version, I loved it just as much as Fage. I don’t think its texture is quite as thick, but as a base for a yogurt mess, it was perfecto.

Thanks to Kristina, for sending me an Oikos goodie bag with some coupons.

Eventually I threw some lunch together.IMG_2036

Between toasted Arnold whole wheat bread: roasted red pepper Sabra, honey maple turkey, avocado, spinach, roasted red peppers and dijonaisse.

I warned you there’d be lots of honey maple turkey in the near future; I don’t understand why I’m suddenly obsessed with it.

My sandwich went for the whole leaning tower of Pisa look.

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On the side, I had the other half of my A.M. honeycrisp.

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Con cinnamon.

And a bag of Popchips.

I’d only tried (and LOVED) the salt and vinegar flavor before receiving my samples from Corinne, so I decided to try something new. I was obsessed with sour cream and onion chips when I was a kid, like wouldn’t-eat-any-other-flavor obsessed, so I went for these.

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Loved. Salt and vinegar are still my #1 so far, but these had that same amazing chip-meets-rice cake texture and lots of sour cream and onion flavor.

(P.S.—If you’ve never heard of Popchips, read their snacker’s credo. I feel like I could have written it. And I adore #7: “you’re allowed to eat the whole bag.”)

Dinner began with una ensalada mexicana ENORME.

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In the mix: 3 cups baby spinach, shrooms marinated in balsamic & honey, baby peppers, roasted red peppers, avocado, celery, red onion, habanero lime salsa and shredded white cheddar; dressed in celery salt, honey balsamic dressing and FSTG lime tortilla chips.

All the stars gravitated toward the center: big mound of habanero lime salsa and avocado, surrounded by honey balsamic marinated mushrooms, crushed FSTG lime tortilla chips and white cheddar.

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The FSTG lime chips MADE this salad. They have such an intense flavor that, even though I only crumbled a handful’s worth of chips, you could taste the lime in every bite.

Cena Part Dos: Cheeeeeeetahs.IMG_2058

1 medium sweet potato—shaken in a Ziploc of EVOO, cinnamon and brown sugar—baked at 450° from 30 minutes, flipping half way.

This one goes out to a certain snacker who deserves all the success she’s recently encountered.

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My dinner beverage was orange-hued, as well: v8 carrot juice.

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LIES. I hate veggie juice. (I think.) That’s orange Fanta; but it could pass for carrot juice, no?

Ok, I’m off to get my shop on. I still don’t know what I’m being for Halloween! I can’t think of anything creative, and it’s really bothering me. Last year’s costume was pretty prodigious; perhaps I’ll share some (really embarrassing) pics tomorrow. Any ideas are welcome!

-Sarah

Y El Ganador Es…

Buenos días, my inteligente español scholars.

In the event that you need a little ayuda translating this post’s título:

y el ganador es…” means “and the winner is…”

¡Sí! The time has come to reveal the winner of my sopa giveaway! Well, not quite yet. I’m obviously going to make you endure my recap of yesterday’s eats before getting to the good stuff.

(“Make you” is quite a relative expression considering you have full capability to scroll to the bottom of this post. If you do this, por favor, make your way back up here for some good eats :) .)

Tuesday morning began with a cup of sugar cookie sleigh ride tea and…

Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride Oat Bran!IMG_1918

I’ve been meaning to try cooking oats in flavored tea—and as soon as I tried this flavor, I knew it’d be the perfect tea constituent. It was!

To expose and enhance the sugar cookie flavor, I cooked 1/2 cup oat bran in 1 1/4 cup brewed tea. I stirred in a little vanilla extract, brown sugar, Truvia and cinnamon—and topped with a spoonful of raspberry preserves.

Come a bit closer.IMG_1921

Closer…IMG_1920

See the Truvia crystals? They made the bowl. This was actually my first experience with Truvia, or any stevia sweetener. I’ve been meaning to try stevia in my efforts to scale back on the Splenda front, so when Truvia offered to send me a sample—you know I obliged.

I’ve yet to try it in my coffee—but it worked its sweet magic in this bowl of oat bran. Because I was trying to capture the essence of  a sugar cookie, I thought both brown and “white” sugar were necessary. The preserves were just added because I thought the bowl was lacking aesthetic panache; but they, too, worked some serious sugary magic.

I will definitely be re-creating and further experimenting with sugar cookie oats; I’m thinking a raisin addition would work splendidly. Any suggestions?

Alongside my sugary oats, I has another sweet component.

HUGE Honeycrisp!IMG_1982

Since I haven’t been putting much effort into my manzana consumption, I opted for a photography-friendly change from my current chomp-to-the-core approach.IMG_1983

Massive manzana con PB. Delicioso, como siempre.

Lunch continued down the sweet route.

Honey-licious wrap.IMG_1992

In a whole wheat wrap: Garlic & Herb Laughing Cow, Honey Maple Turkey, 1/2 honeycrisp apple, spinach and honey mustard.

Boar’s Head honey maple turkey > any other brand. I think I’m experiencing a mild case of honey maple obsession—because it’s all I’ve been craving. Also, I’m sort of weird with meat, and I’ll only eat it within several days of its purchase. So, honey maple obsession + meat eating idiosyncrasy=expect a lot of turkey in the next few days. Lo siento, vegetarian and vegan amigas. IMG_1996

Con another bigger-than-the-wrap half-sour pickle.IMG_2001

This obsession is full-fledged, and always in effect. Me encantan pickles.

(Go on, say it…)

Soon after, Mr. Postman delivered this:IMG_1981

The sticky yoga mat I won from Erica! I’ve not been doing yoga, but perhaps this new goodie will motivate me. Any at-home recommendations?

I took it out and laid on it without any yoga intentions—simply because I’m a child and can’t not open a new toy. However, this faux yoga session reminded me that I had a Yogi tea to try out!

Mi amiga received this when she got a massage this weekend, and she thoughtfully offered it to moi because she knows I’m a tea fiend.

This was my first experience with Yogi tea, and I loved it!IMG_1990

I love flavored variations of green tea, and blub always works.

But the whole “suppresses appetite” thing?

Yea, I don’t know about that…

Food Should Taste Good lime tortilla chips, inconsiderately stuck right into the communal Sabra.IMG_1876

Love this FSTG flavor! Again, none of the flavors have been as good as the Multigrain or The Works, in my opinion; but I loved the hint of lime. (PS: I only have one more flavor to try ‘til I can give you a full FSTG review!)

The bag remained by my side during this blogging-from-bed Sabra session—so, needless to say, I did a bit more FSTG damage than what’s pictured here.

Dinner started with a simple ensalada.IMG_2003

3 cups baby spinach; shrooms, 1/2 honeycrisp, baby peppers, red onion, celery salt, honey balsamic dressing and habanero lime salsa.

Best flavor melding of the night goes to the sweet honeycrisp/spicy salsa combo.

I knew dinner’s main event was going to involve brown rice—because I had a ton left over from way too much Chinese take out this weekend.

In an attempt to not just re-heat the never-ending stash of sesame chicken, I made a Thai Peanut Rice Bowl.IMG_2010

1.5 cups brown rice; 2 cups broccoli; 1 cup pineapple. Douses in my homemade peanut sauce.

If you haven’t noticed, I really like the peanut + pineapple combo.

Since the sauce wasn’t really showing in the pictures, I added an extra spoonful.IMG_2013

For picture purposes only. I, of course, hated the peanut-y addition…

I dug into my Newman’s Own Champion Chip Cookies for dessert. I have to preface this opinion by reminding you that I’m not a big chocolate person; I wasn’t crazy about these. They were sort of hard, and very average.

So, I channeled one of my favorite cereals from my childhood to salvage them.

Cooooooookie Crisps! I simply dumped some Newman’s cookies in a bowl and doused them in almond milk; I let them marinate for a few minutes ‘til they were perfectly soggy. And devoured,IMG_1638

Problemo solved.

Ok, so who won my Campbell’s sopa giveaway? The random integer generator spewed out #64; that’d be…

Katie from A Joy in Class!

One of my favorite new bloggers! Felicidades, chica! E-mail me at thefoodiediaries@gmail.com with your address—and I’ll get your goodies on their way!

While we’re on the topic of giveaways and, more importantly, favorite bloggers, check out my taste bud gemela Katharina’s 101st post giveaway!

Hope your Wednesday night is absolutely GLEEFUL :) .

-Sarah

Overheard in Starbucks…

I almost never wake up hungry. I think this is because I’m not naturally a breakfast person.

I suppose my allegiant consumption of oats and/or yogurt messes every morning would suggest otherwise. But, I’m actually an amateur breakfast aficionada. Throughout high school I was an avid breakfast skipper; in college I progressed to a light breakfast eater. Though, if I forgot to grab my morning yogurt or apple on my way out the door, it was no big deal. I’m just not hungry in the morning.

However, since discovering the creative culinary capabilities that lie in each bowl of oats and container of yogurt, I’ve converted. While I still do not wake up hungry, I do rise with breakfast eagerness and enthusiasm. These days, you couldn’t pay me to skip my beloved B.

Except yesterday, I had to.

And, of course, on the one morning I had to skip breakfast, something extraordinary happened. Yes, I woke up hungry.

So why did I have to forego my a.m. fuel? I had an early appointment for a fitness evaluation at my new gym—and I was told not to eat, drink or exercise an hour beforehand.

In retrospect, I should have skipped the silly evaluation entirely because getting pinched, weighed and hit on all on an empty stomach did not set a good tone for my Monday. During my evaluation, I learned that—in the personal trainer’s words—I have “close to zero percent upper body strength.” And also that I “weigh more than I look.” Lovely.

I was frustrated with this for about 5 minutes until I spoke with one of my friends who pointed out the hilarity and absurdity of having “zero percent upper body strength.”

He queried, “How can you have zero percent upper body strength? That makes me think that you can’t even pick up a spoon. Like if someone asks you to hand them something, you can simply respond: ‘Sorry, can’t. I have zero percent upper body strength.’”

My friend’s sound logic assured me that I must have at least one percent upper body strength, and I’m okay with that.

I moved on to breakfast.

(Yea, when I said I skipped breakfast, I probably should have said I delayed breakfast.)

My appointment was only a half hour, and the moment I got home, I reversed any breakfast skippage.

Con cafeIMG_1854

And a pumpkin duo.

Pumpkie Pie Baked Apple YogurtIMG_1865

Pumpkin Pie Yogurt (1 container plain greek yogurt, 1/2 cup pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice) topped with one chopped, “baked” gala and Fiber One.

It was a wondrous hybrid of pumpkin pie and apple pie—in their most bodacious breakfast form.IMG_1866

After all of your woes with Stonyfield’s Pumpkin Pie flavor, I’ll be sticking to the homemade version—SO GOOD!

My other pumpkin component was an always amazing microwave pumpkin pie.IMG_1956 

I forgot to save some greek yogurt for frosting—so I just threw some maple syrup and cinnamon on top.

These 3-minute-in-the-micro, addictively DELICIOUS pumpkin cakes never cease to astound me. If my weakling arms could lug more than two cans of pumpkin out of the grocery store at a time, I’d live on these.

The pumpkin duo did me well on the breakfast front, so I opted for an apple duo as my on-the-go lunch.

New Zealand Eve apple (type of Braeburn) and TJ’s This Apple Walks Into a BarIMG_1948

I wasn’t really on-the-go, but I’d made a productivity date with my local Starbucks. I’m not sure why, but I’m a much more efficient writer/to-do list crosser-offer when I’m in a comfy Starbucks.

Maybe they pump a little productivity into the pumpkin spice lattes.

I got non-fat soy pumpkin latte. Iced because NYC brought the beautiful weather again. And grande because I’m an animal, and I can kill a tall in one sip.

I’m too awkward to bust out my camera in busy cafe—so I opted for a little sneaky webcam shot.Snapshot_20091026

Success! As you can see, I was already halfway through my monster grande. ‘Twas perfectly pumpkiny—and definitely productivity prompting! I got mucho accomplished—but efficiency isn’t the only reason I enjoy a good Star$ session. It is, perhaps, one of the best people-watching grounds ever. Or, in yesterday’s case, eavesdropping grounds.

I now present to you, Overheard in Starbucks…

  • Middle-aged woman on the phone: “It’s ironic that Pilates rhymes with biscotti.” This woman, much like Alanis, was never taught the proper definition of ironic.
  • 20-something chica on a coffee date with cute boy: “Yea, I really want to see ‘Where the Wild Things Are.’ I heard it’s really gory, but Brad Pitt is supposed to be amazing!” Seriously? Who confuses Where the Wild Things Are with Inglourious Basterds? Poor cute boy.
  • 80-year-old lady to her 85-year-old lady friend: “See you tomorrow, sex pot!” I liked her.
  • 6-year-old to her mother: “Why can’t I drink coffee? Is there wine in it?” I really liked her.

I adore entertaining people.

After returning home from Starbucks, I felt sort of gypped in the lunch department. (I’m really not a bar person.) So, I made a quickie turkey and cheese sandwich.IMG_1945

I really wanted a grilled cheese and turkey sandwich—but neither toasters nor microwaves can produce those. So, I settled on a double vegan cheese turkey sandwich. Now there’s a little irony for you.

I’m really loving this vegan cheese; it’s thicker and gets more melty than standard deli American slices.

Dinner included one sliced cucumber marinated in a balsamic, honey and krazy salt combo for 24 hours.IMG_1965

Gah, I LOVE salty and sweet.

I also created the best bowl of savory oats. EVER.

Double Cheesy Egg Scrambly OatsIMG_1979

  • I cooked 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats in 1 and 1/4 cup water and salt for 2 minutes. I then added a chopped up Laughing Cow wedge, and heated for an additional minute.
  • In a separate bowl, I microwaved spinach, cherry tomatoes and 3 egg whites and another Laughing Cow for 3 minutes—stopping after each minute to stir.
  • Plop cheesy veggie-packed eggs over cheesy oats. Top with sriracha. And devour the creamiest, cheesiest, most flavorful bowl of savory oats EVER.

No really, look at that corner. You can see the Laughing Cow melted into the oats.IMG_1975

I kid you not. I oohed and aaahed at every single bite. I’m going to do my best to keep switching things up—but this is, perhaps, my greatest microwave discovery. I’m fairly certain I could be completely content solely eating bowls of this and that microwave pumpkin pie.IMG_1969 

As in, I really wish I hadn’t just eaten lunch. Yo quiero esto ahora!

I didn’t think I’d have room for dessert, but alas…IMG_1947

My last bag of Kettle Corn—doused in cinnamon, brown sugar and salt. I’m curious to see how long I can go before giving in and restocking my microwaveable popcorn stash. If I can make it through the week, I will be thoroughly impressed.

Preguntas: What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve overheard in a cafe? Also, are you a breakfast person? If so, have you always been one?

Adios,

-Sarah

Weekend Discoveries

¿Qué tal tu fin de semana? translates to:

How did your weekend treat you?

Mine was perfecto—filled with fun and food

As always, new discoveries were accrued

On the pumpkin front, I discovered…

-Pumpkin Pie YogurtIMG_1863

In the mix: 1/2 cup pumpkin, one container plain Greek yogurt, maple syrup, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice

Actually, a certain birthday girl discovered this a while back, but mi boca hadn’t experienced its wonder ‘til this weekend.

I turned to this in-house pumpkin yogurt mixture to kick an imaginary craving, of sorts.

An imaginary craving? That’d be a craving for something you’ve never actually tasted—but perhaps seen, heard or dreamt of.

In this case, my imaginary craving was for Stonyfield’s new Pumpkin Pie yogurt.  I haven’t been able to find it in stores—but I’m not sure I’ll continue looking after tasting this creamy pumpkin bliss. Has anyone tried Stonyfield’s version?

So long as I continue to crave all things pumpkin, this superbly simple snack is sure to become a staple. Sort of like these.

-Also in the way of pumpkin discoveries: Pumpkin Pie Oat BranIMG_1889

In the mix: 1/2 cup oat bran, 1 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup pumpkin, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and crushed grahams

Glorious pile of grahams with a necessary “moat” of graham crumbs.IMG_1893

I sort of think oat bran is a better vehicle for absorbing all of the pumpkiny deliciousness than old-fashioned oats. Thoughts?IMG_1898

-Pumpkin Cream Cheese SushiIMG_1943

In a whole wheat wrap, 3 tbsp. cream cheese, 1/4 cup pumpkin, maple syrup, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.

So aesthetically and gastronomically pleasing. Is it just me, or is pretty food always more satisfying?

Another pretty sushi discovery…

-Riceless sushiIMG_1906

(Sorry for the awful pictures; dimly lit restaurants are so inconsiderate of those who photograph their food.)

These were shrimp and avocado and tuna and avocado rolls wrapped in cucumber instead of rice. I’d never heard of this before, but they were so good!IMG_1910

These had much more innards than standard rolls; esto me gusta. Gracias to mi bonita dinner date for the recommendation :) .

-Also rediscovered my obsession with seaweed saladIMG_1902

-And discovered—if we put full trust in my waitress—that those jellyfish rumors are false. I’m choosing to take her word.

-And that I like clear soup mucho mejor than miso soup.IMG_1903

-And that almost-empty restaurants allow for unfiltered, usually restaurant-inappropriate dinner conversation.IMG_1899

-And that when you loudly and frequently announce your distaste for chocolate, you will be punished with a weekend’s worth of cravings of this fashion…IMG_1881

Maybe my taste buds are changing?

Sunday delivered some stunning weather, which prompted me to discover that…

-When you are handed a beaming 60 degree weekend afternoon in October, you grab your best friend for a day of Brooklyn meandering.

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-You just may discover a secret garden.IMG_1924

-Or the coolest glasses holder ever.IMG_1935

-Or a plethora of vintage cookbooks, some of which may remind you of a graceful blogger.IMG_1936

-You may be tempted to purchase some brassy fall dishware. IMG_1930

-But you may surprise yourself by exercising extraordinary self-control—and instead purchasing a more practical vintage ring.IMG_1931

-You may receive odd stares for pretending to be a hand model in the middle of a bustling flea market. And for your eccentric nail polish decisions.

-You may encounter an adorable vegan restaurant (with a “Sorry, Carnivores. We’re Open” sign).IMG_1938

-Upon staring into cute vegan restaurant’s window, you may be offered free vegan empanadas.

-And find you have a fabulous fashionista BFF who is willing to pose for an action shot “for the blog.”IMG_1937

-And who will go on to repeatedly proclaim, for the next three blocks, “those were f-ing good.”

Vegan convert?

-We also discovered that when you are in search of hot chocolate and chai—but are too picky about choosing a cafe (deeming every place too crowded, too hippie, too commercial, etc.)—you end up with no hot chocolate, and no chai :( .

That was perhaps the only foodie foul of this whole weekend, so I’ll take it.

Hope your weekends were full of delicious discoveries; if they were, por favor, share!

Oh yea, don’t forget to enter my sopa giveaway before Tuesday at midnight EST!

-Sarah

¿Quieres Sopa? Un Giveaway

There’s no better way

to embrace a fall day

Than to regroup

with a big bowl of soup

¿Estás de acuerdo? If so, you should probably enter my sopa giveaway at the end of this post.

You should read about yesterday’s eats first, though :) .

Thursday was warm and sunny—a peculiarity amid standard NYC fall weather. No soup was consumed.

When October hands you 70° weather, you make iced coffee.

IMG_1811 When you have limited access to dishware due to kitchen renovation, you enjoy that iced coffee in a classy Solo cup.

Alongside a more fall-appropriate breakfast (also enjoyed on the finest plastic china).

Microwave Pumpkin PieIMG_1807

I instantly fell in love with this DPAAB upon seeing it on Allie’s blog a couple weeks ago.

Piece-of-cake Pumpkin Pie Perfection: 1/2 cup pumpkin, 1 egg white, pumpkin pie spice and sweetener (I used brown sugar and maple syrup). Microwave for 3 minutes.

This will yield one of those precious little pies/pancakes/call–em-whatever-you-wants-you’re-going-to-be-addicted.

I made two grande “pies” since I was having them as my breakfast—give or take a couple Vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Le frosting: 2 TBSP plain Greek yogurt, 2 TBSP cream cheese, 1/2 TBSP maple syrup.

And because I still can’t make up my mind about food looking more appetizing its messy or neat state, here’s messy…

IMG_1809 

…and here’s neat.

IMG_1808

What’s the verdict?

Yo no sé. They both tasted equally delicioso.

Despite a nearly insuppressible temptation to re-create my pumpkin pie puddings for lunch, I went with a sandwich.

Cream cheese and pumpkin—my new favorite combo and breakfast’s star components—were involved.

IMG_1815 

Piled high between two slices of Arnold’s 100% whole wheat: cream cheese, pumpkin, mushrooms, spinach and roasted red peppers.

IMG_1819

Me encanta.

I also had some mozzarella and balsamic. Just cause.IMG_1438 

I got slightly ravenous at an hour I deemed too early for dinner—so I toasted a whole wheat pita and some shrooms to serve as vehicles for la mejor salsa del mundo.

IMG_1823

Oh yea, I might have melted a little cheese on the pita chips…

To all my vegans: this was vegan cheese! Are you proud?IMG_1824

You probably shouldn’t be. It was an accidental purchase made by Kev Thug—who seems to be losing a bit of his supermarket savvy. But I liked it!

However, there wasn’t enough salsa for both the shrooms and the chips. So I hit up another of Kev Thug’s purchases as a back-up dip. (Note: back-up, as used in the previous sentence, is not meant to denote inferiority. I don’t want to upset any hungry hippies on their birthdays…)

Remember that time my fridge was harboring hummus fugitives? It’s at it again.

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So I relegated the pita chips to salsa dipping duties, and let the shrooms have their way with the Sabra.

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I sort of plagiarized Erica’s dinner because her post reminded me that I’ve been meaning to make savory oats again. IMG_1844

In the bowl: 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats cooked in water and soy sauce; topped with broccoli, mushrooms, melted mozzarella and sriracha.

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This spicy, cheesy rendition certainly rivals my basic Bittman first attempt. Such a perfect, flavor-packed, filling dinner.

Also had a cucumber that I’d previously marinated in balsamic, honey and krazy salt.IMG_1836

And since I’d had no fruit all day (except, is pumpkin a fruit?), I had an apple for dessert.IMG_1847 

And by apple, I mean “baked” apple.

With PB. Naturally. IMG_1850

Also plagiarized from a favorite blogger.

Ok, let’s get to that sopa giveaway.

Caroline from Campbell’s contacted me and offered to send me a Campbell’s V8 goodie bag to give away to one of my readers. Included is:

    • Campbell’s V8 Garden Vegetable Blend soup
    • A Campbell’s V8 Soup Health Journal and vegetable shaped pens to keep track of your servings
    • A Flip and Tumble shopping bag to stock up on vegetables
    • A Pedometer – to count your steps!

To enter this giveaway:

  • Leave a comment telling me your favorite canned/convenience soup.
  • Tweet about this giveaway, and leave a comment letting me know you did.
  • Follow me on Twitter, and leave a comment letting me know you did.
  • Add me to your blogroll, and leave a comment letting me know you did.
  • Link back to this giveaway on your blog, and leave a comment letting me know you did.

Each of these counts as one entry.

The giveaway is open til Tuesday, October 27 at midnight EST, and I will choose a winner at random on Wednesday morning. Only open to residents of U.S. and Canada.

FYI: This isn’t the giveaway I’d told you I was conjuring up when I asked for suggestions. That is, however, in the works :) .

Have a great weekend!

-Sarah

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