Sol y Café

I feel like you all speak Spanish by now. But, in case you’ve not acquired full fluency, that’s sun and coffee.

Both of which—when enjoyed in excess—make me exceptionally happy and hyper. Both yesterday and today have involved mucho sol y café.

Today’s 70° weather trumps yesterday’s 65°—and has also made me even more predisposed to spending the entire day outside. So, again, I’m stopping in for a late quickie and then departing to gallivant the balmy Brooklyn streets. Also, I want to preemptively apologize for any coffee/sun-induced hyperness/loco-ness/senselessness that finds its way into this post.

Wednesday morning kicked off with something else that never fails to induce happiness and hyperness.

Paquetes!

Numero uno was from Lindsey—whose giveaway I won last month.

Highlights included TJs bars, Hermits (exciting—since I’ve nearly polished mine off), Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea (which I’ve been dying to try since spying some celeb loving it often) and…

What’s that Ziploc in the back right corner?

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Oh, just the most delicious Vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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Ever.

In the process of transferring these little wonders into Tupperware, I enjoyed a couple as a breakfast appetizer.

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Numero dos was from Corinne over at Popchips.

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I’ve only ever tried (and LOVED) the salt and vinegar flavor—and I can’t wait to see if the other flavors are as good!

I passed on these as a breakfast component, and instead brewed some coffee and considered los posibilidades.

As the calming aroma of java permeated my construction-crazed casa, inspiration struck.

Coffee Oats!IMG_1719

I know it unappetizingly resembles baby food—and also what baby food looks like post digestion, if you catch my drift. But I assure you it was increible!

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I simply cooked 1/2 cup oat bran in 1 cup coffee—and then drizzled this pantry newbie on top.

IMG_1718It’s no DCD (which I’ve not been able to find)—but it’s pretty good. Very sweet and very peanut butter-y.

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I wish I had some magic Photoshop tool to make these oats look delicious because I can’t emphasize (or illustrate) how amazing they were! This bowl—combined with about 3-4 cups of coffee—had much to do with yesterday’s hyperactivity.

Lunch was a quickie because I wanted to enjoy every minute of Wednesday’s wonderfully warm un-October weather.

Un gran wrap mexicanoIMG_1769

In a whole wheat wrap, I layered: French Onion LC; roasted red pepper hummus; avocado slices, lettuce, turkey, roasted red peppers and habanero lime salsa.

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Spicy y delicioso.

On the side I had an enormous pickle.

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It was legitimately bigger than the wrap halves.

After being the giddiest New Yorker en las calles  yesterday, I came home HANGRY.

I brewed some Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea (my newest obsession; I had 3 cups).

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And snacked on a disproportionate trifecta of deliciousness.

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2 vegan pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and the BIGGEST pluot I’ve ever seen. This was the size of a GRANDE apple, and I loved it.

As I look at my pictures from dinner, I realize they are as misleadingly unappetizing as my coffee oats. You’ll have to take my word that dinner—despite its appearance—was amazing.

PPP: Peanut Pineapple PizzaIMG_1795

On a baked wrap: homemade peanut sauce, frozen spinach, pineapple, roasted red peppers, sesame seeds, garlic, krazy salt and más peanut sauce.

When I was younger, the only pizza I would tolerate was pineapple pizza. I think this creation was inspired by the fact that, now, pineapple reminds me of Thai food. And Thai food reminds me of peanut sauce.

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The flavor combo was perfection. The peanut sauce made things really messy—which I didn’t particularly mind—but I think next time I’ll thicken it up with an extra tbsp. of peanut butter. Never hurts.

I had a pound of asparagus on the side.IMG_1794

That’s not an exaggeration; I don’t believe in portion control when it comes to veggies :) .

Nor with popcorn.IMG_1804

Dessert was a bag of butter popcorn doused in cinnamon and one packet of brown sugar. Ningunas palabras.

Before I head back out, yo necesito some advice. Several spots have opened to attend the FoodBuzz festival. I’ve made no arrangements, but I could stay with family if I go. Thoughts?

Gracias for enduring this spastic post, as well as the unappealing pics. I promise tomorrow’s post will be full of photogenic eats :) .

Casi viernes!

-Sarah

Lost (Yoga) Puppy

Hola! Sorry for the tarde post, but it is GORGEOUS in NYC today.

65° and sunnyand I don’t feel like I have the swine for the first day in forever! These two more-than-welcome abnormalities have provoked giddy school girl syndrome, which has involved a lot of hyperactivity and a compulsion to spend as much time outside as possible.

I just stopped home for a little blogging, e-mailing, eating and listening to my construction friends sing la cucaracha (I really adore them and their musical taste)—and then I’m heading back out to bask in the sun/run errands. I love days that allow you to combine the two.

Onto Tuesday’s treats…

Cran Bran Vita in a Strawberry Yogurt Hug—a la K.IMG_1696

Look how cran-packed this Vita was!IMG_1699

I attempted breaking the Vita off—spoonful by spoonful—to ensure perfect bite after perfect bite.IMG_1700

But I quickly realized that when you make a yogurt mess, every bite is a perfect bite.IMG_1701

This breakfast was perfect for several reasons. First, I haven’t had flavored yogurt in forever. Don’t get me wrong; Greek is #1 in my dairy-loving corazón. But I almost exclusively (for lack of a less pretentious word) eat plain Greek yogurt—so I think I’ve missed the flavor/texture variation of standard strawberry yogurt. Mmmm.

Next, I haven’t loved Vitas, thus far. When I tried the Corn Muffin Vita, it was too dry. When I tried the Blue Bran, it was better—but not amazing. But—I really liked the Cran Bran! I’m not going to drop the L-bomb yet because I want to become a bit more acclimated in the Vita flavor waters before I start naming favorites. But I loved the abundance of berries! And because I, again, let it thaw at room temperature instead of microwaving, its texture was pretty moist.

I had some cream cheese and jelly toast on le side.IMG_1715

In the spirit of going against the food blogger common consensus, I think that cream cheese & J > PB & J. Lo siento.

Lunch carried on Monday’s tahini kick.

How, you may wonder, did I steam brown rice without access to a kitchen?

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I didn’t. He did.

unclebenI heated up an Uncle Ben’s 90 second brown rice bag, added frozen peas, carrots and corn—and then dressed with Soy Vay and a big dollop of tahini.

All mixed together.IMG_1636

The Soy Vay-tahini combo was such a delicious flavor blend—and it perfectly coated each and every of Uncle B’s grains. This took approximately 5 minutes to prepare and kept me full for so long. I also feel like it would taste great cold (or re-heated), so—if I ever find myself employed—this would definitely be a go-to Tupperware lunch.

In the interim, it’ll be a go-to microwave-friendly meal.

Later—though I was still really full from the rice—I used my last Nutridel cookie for a snack. I wanted to eat something because I was taking a dinner-time yoga class, and I try to avoid the awkward public hungry tummy grumbles (mouthful!) at all costs.

I had my last flaxseedmi favorito.

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Since this was my last Nutridel experience (unless they open a NYC location), I channeled a little cookie consumption creativity and decided to create a Nutridel-fro-yo sandwich!

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I spread a thick layer of vanilla yogurt between the two cookie halves—and then threw it in the freezer for about an hour.

While giving my best Matilda stare to the freezer—in an attempt to speed up the process—I had the remainder of the vanilla yogurt with some Fiber One.

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Fast forward an hour and—while the result wasn’t particularly photogenic—it was ice-cream sandwich brilliance.

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All of the cookie’s incredible flaxseedy flavor was out in full-force in its frozen form. No me gusta the fact that I can’t re-create this.

‘Twas perfect yogi fuel. But, unfortunately, last night’s class ‘twas not the perfect yogi experience.

If you recall, I’d never tried yoga until last month. During my one-week yoga challenge, I attended five Bikram classes and absolutely loved them. Before committing to a monthly pass at the Bikram studio (which is muy expensivo), I wanted to try out a few other yoga classes—specifically non-heated forms.

Last night I went to Athletic Yoga—and I was quite underwhelmed. Because of the name, I expected a pretty challenging, athletic class. But the class sort of just felt like an hour of stretching; I think it’d be great for athletes who need quality stretch time. But, because my “athleticism” is currently pretty limited due to a hip injury, I got sort of antsy.

The instructor also wasn’t particularly helpful or engaging. I’m pretty sure I did half the positions incorrectly, and I just sort of felt like a lost puppy in yoga land. I still kind of do because now I’m doubting my initial yogi love. Before Bikram, I’d always assumed I was too fast-paced a person to get into yoga. I’m wondering if that assumption was on-point; maybe I only liked Bikram because it had an element of intensity. I’ll definitely give other non-Bikram practices a try because I love the idea of loving yoga—but I’m also not going to force it.

To my yogis—a-hem—any advice?

I had a super quick, super late dinner after class.

Ensalada Enorme IMG_1738

Featuring amazing apple-y tuna saladIMG_1740

In the mix: 3 oz. tuna; 2 dollops greek yogurt; 1 laughing cow garlic & herb wedge; 1/3 chopped gala; slivered almonds; lemon pepper seasoning; krazy salt.

Gah, this mix never fails. It went on top a big bed of mixed greens, avocado, red onion, more apple, red bell pepper and green beans; drizzled with my balsamic-honey dressing.IMG_1739

On the side I had half a red bell pepper filled with the best salsa ever.

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And more spicy string beansthis time topped with melted mozzarella, garlic powder and sriracha.

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And—because my swine started to subside last night—I treated myself to some No Pudge love and a grande spoonful of almond butter. I’ve been going (comparatively) easy on the nut butters because I don’t like how they feel on my throat when I’m sick. So, I figured a dollop of AB was the most self-indulgent effective way to determine if my illness had retreated.IMG_1678

My throat didn’t mind it at all. But perhaps I’ll re-test my almond butter indicator tonight, for accuracy purposes.

Hope you all enjoy Glee your Wednesday nights!

-Sarah

Tehehehini

I’ll get to that horribly cheesy title in a little—but, in the mean time, I’m sure you can guess what sesame-derived ingredient made its way into my eats yesterday.

First, I wanted to thank you for all of the feedback on my first review! I can’t wait to do more because, if it’s not apparent, I kind of like talking about food. Is it wrong to be more opinionated about food than about politics? Yo no sé, but I’d debate nut butters over national security any day.

Speaking of nut butters, Monday morning welcomed a peanut butter first.

After a few cups of cinnamon swirly java, I tried a beloved blogland breakfast that, I’m sure, all of you have had many times by now.

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Oats in a jar!

Proof that I am a behind-the-times blogger: I hadn’t tried overnight oats ‘til last week, and I hadn’t utilized an almost-empty jar as an oatmeal bowl ‘til yesterday! Ay, dios…

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When I noticed my current jar of peanut butter nearing its end, I seized la oportunidad. Into the jar went 1/3 cup quick-cooking Irish oatmeal—cooked in almond milk, sweetened with maple syrup and topped with raspberry preserves.

Because there was a good amount of peanut butter coating the sides of the jar, I let the steamy oats melt the PB walls by returning the lid for 5 minutes and then violently passionately shaking the jar.

IMG_1687 The result was PB & J oats in their most divine form. I think it was a combination of the glorious chewiness of Irish oatmeal and the mouth-watering meltiness of the peanut butter.

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Hated it.

As I wrote up my Nutridel review (which you can read here, if you missed it), I had an almond Nutridel cookie topped with cream cheese and jelly.

Before:

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After:

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I can’t decide if I think the before or after shot is more mouth-watering. I suppose beauty’s in the eye of the beholder. What do you think? Does food look more appetizing when it’s well put-together or messy?

Lunch brings us to the tehehehini title of this post.

What ingredient made it into almost everything I ate for the rest of the day?

You guessed it.

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I’ve always thought it was spelt tahini, but I’ve seen several brands spell it this way. Anyone know the explanation behind this spelling discrepancy? Merriam goes with tahini—but  maybe tehina is the authentic Mediterranean spelling? It’s really not normal that this is bothering me.

Anyway, lunch. I toasted a rye sandwich thin and topped half with tahini/tehina and crumbled feta before broiling for 2 minutes.

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I topped the other half with one of my homemade rice & bean veggie burgers (which I’d frozen a couple of weeks ago) and roasted red peppers.

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I heated it in the toaster for 10 minutes at 450°—and it tasted just as great. ¡Éxito! (That’s success en español.)

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I had some pre-made frozen sweet potato fries with honey mustard on the side.

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All together now.

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Burger and fries? So not a me lunch—but it was delicious.

At some point in the day, I stumbled upon this New York Times article featuring—what do you know?tahini. (By the way, I am going to spell it this way for the remainder of this post—because if Martha Rose Shulman says tahini, I’ll take her word.)

Shulman says she prefers tahini to nut butter as a toast topping—which I can’t say I agree with—but I took this feature as a sign from the holy food disciples that I should continue on with my tahini eats.

Plus, Shulman highlighted its health benefits: copper, manganese, calcium (mi favorito), iron, B1 and dietary fiber. Me gusta.

Dinner started with a big ensalada featuring a variation of last week’s hummus-baked chicken.

This time, I coated the chicken in tahini and then broiled the pieces for 7 minutes.

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Again, SO GOOD.

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In the mix: lots o’ mixed greens, string beans, red onion, 1/2 avocado, celery, roasted red peppers and tahini chicken—dressed in celery salt & honey balsamic.

The trifecta: tahini chicken, roasted red pepper and Haas avocado.

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This avocado was extraordinarily creamy and flavorful. I know this is sort of blasphemous to admit in blogland, but I don’t love avocados.  I definitely don’t dislike them. And I do eat them frequently—but this is mostly for their nutritional benefits. In general, I find their flavor a little underwhelming. If you hate me for this, you should redirect your attention to another blogger who hates pumpkin…

Dinner’s other components were sort of random—but such is life sans a kitchen.

Flax toast with melted Jarlsberg (BEST CHEESE EVER), roasted red pepper and a tahini stripe.

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Tahiiiiniiii. I think you’re the new hummus.

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Ok, I take that back. But it’s a close second.

The only tahini-less dinner side was steamed green beans (by steamed, I obviously mean microwaved) topped with garlic powder and sriracha.

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And because the sriracha spiciness necessitated a cold cooldown…

Vanilla fro-yo with Newman’s Own Organics mini pretzels and a Hermit.

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Oooh my god. Hermits! How have I never discovered these before? They are like little bars of gingerbready, figgy goodness! I don’t care to show you the dent I’ve made in the box I only opened this weekend. I will say I’m addicted.

The fro-yo felt so good on my still sickish throat. And though I’ve still not fully recuperated from whatever stubborn flu-like illness has invaded mi vida, I’ve decided that (a) I am feeling much better and (b) I’m going to stop being a baby and just pretend I’m fully well in hopes that it’ll come true.

Before I go, una pregunta.

I may or may not be in the process of conjuring up a magnificent giveaway for next month. What would you love to win in a giveaway?

-Sarah

Review: Nutridel

This weekend I discovered…dayquil

mixed with

Imacon Color Scanner

necessitates a lot more

dayquil

and a weekend full of

flu-bed

So, in lieu of a weekend recap filled with cold meds, soup and junk food, I’ve decided to do my first official review!

I’m playing around with the format I’m going to use for my food reviews—so if anyone has suggestions about what you like to see in a review (in terms of details, length, etc.), please do share.

As many of you know, my background is in journalism, so I figured I’d have some fun with this review and try out a Journalism 5 Ws + H format. Now that I’ve left you absolutely no doubts as to how tremendously geeky I am, let’s get to the review.

On Friday, I received a package from Nutridel—which included samples of their Almond and Flaxseed cookies.

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WHO makes them? Nutridel, “a family-run business dedicated to the elaboration of handcrafted, all natural, gourmet vegan cookies.”

WHAT are they? You guessed it. All natural, gourmet vegan COOKIES! Martha Lofte, former owner of an aerobic studio, created these preservative and trans-fat free cookies so she could offer her studio members a healthy snack. The cookies are BIG, and the ingredient list is refreshingly short. While each of the four flavors—flaxseed, almond, oatmeal and pecan—has a different genetic make-up, the company’s ingredient roster consists of oatmeal, amaranth, sesame seeds, pecan, almond, molasses, coconut, sunflower seed, flaxseed and wheat germ.

WHERE can I get them? If you live in or around San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Portland, Oregon—check out Nutridel’s retail page to see if you’re near one of their coffee house distributors. In store, a package of two cookies costs $2.50. You can also order them by the case online; they offer a box of 28 packages (again, two cookies in each) for $42—which works out to $1.50 per two cookies.

HOW do they taste? As a non-vegan and a salty-over-sweet person, I was surprised to find I LOVED these cookies. I was only sent the almond and flaxseed varieties—so no word on the oatmeal or pecan flavors—but these were delicious.

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The two flavors tasted similar—crunchy and very compact with whole-grain flavor. The almond was, expectedly, very almond-y despite actual nut pieces being almost non-existent; the sweet nutty flavor was certainly there. The flaxseed, in my opinion, was the front-runner. It was so incredibly sweet and cinnamon-y—and loaded with whole flax seeds throughout the cookie.

WHEN we want to jazz them up, we should…?

Smother ‘em in cream cheese and jelly.

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An incredible addition to the almond cookie. I imagine nut butters would work their usual magic, and I also think the cookies would taste great crumbled over yogurt.

WHY these over another brand? Let’s see. I’d never suggest that someone with an Oreo craving try to snack on one of these instead. However, for those of you who make an effort to eat whole foods and appreciate the taste of natural ingredients, these cookies pack extraordinary sweet-but-not-too-sweet flavor and impressive nutrition stats (less than 60 unprocessed calories for a seriously grande cookie).

And an extra non-journalism W

WOULD I buy them again? Because I’m not a serious cookie person, I wouldn’t order  a case for myself. If I were lucky enough to live in the vicinity of one of those Cali or Oregon Nutridel-toting coffee shops, I’d definitely pay the $2.50 for an occasional cookie treat.

I hope you enjoyed the review, and por favor, I would LOVE any feedback on what you liked, didn’t like, want me to add, etc.

Hope your Monday are off to a good start!

-Sarah

Oh, Dairy’s Bad for Illness?

This morning’s wake-up call was más banging and más música.

Construction song of the day: Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”.

Again, this lulled any animosity I’d usually feel toward an unsolicited early morning alarm because (1) that song innately sends out feel-good vibes and (2) it now reminds me of the Glee version.

And, Glee. Oh, Glee. How I adore thee.

This incited 2 hours of Glee sing-a-long listening.

Which is fine because Fridays simply aren’t productivity friendly.

But let’s pick up where we left off yesterday.

After Thursday’s Miley wake-up call, I decided that—despite being sick—I couldn’t listen to a day’s worth of deafening demolition. I needed to get out of la casa.

And I knew exactly where I wanted to be.

starbucks-cup

All I wanted to do was curl up on a comfy cafe couch.

And sip a vanilla chai latte.

And blog amid the serene sounds of coffee machines and hippie chatter.

And get lost in this.

IMG_1572My favorite birthday present.

Or maybe this.

IMG_1573My favorite graduation present.

And possibly venture down the street for some of this.

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(I still haven’t tried the pumpkin cupcake!)

However, I could not have my way

with this envisioned comfy cafe day.

Due to torrential downpour,

the 10-block walk lost its allure.

And my pleasant getaway seemed like more

of an illness-worsening chore.

And so I settled on a day of noisy house arrest.

And a lot of cafe con leche.

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This gets to my title. I do know (or at least I’ve frequently heard) that you’re supposed to avoid dairy when you’re sick. However, I’m not a normal sick person. As I’ve explained, I don’t ever lose my appetite when I’m ill. And I convince myself that really hot and really cold foods make me feel better.

And I often crave dairy. Similar to my hot and cold theory, I hypothesize that smooth dairy products like yogurt and milk make me better. I’m pretty sure this all stems from the fact that I just really like how my throat feels when I consume these hot/cold/dairy items.

Oh well, I ran with it.

Mostly because I’d prepared my breakfast the night before—and it packed a whole lot of smooth dairy. Mmmmm.

Overnight Oats! This is one of those blogland breakfasts that always makes me drool but, for some reason, I’ve never tried.

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Overnight OatsIMG_1567

Soaked overnight: 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk and 1/2 cup greek yogurt. Added in la mañana: bottle of cinnamon, handful of raisins and drizzle of maple syrup.

(I also can’t hear the word drizzle anymore without thinking of the best baby name ever.)

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SO HEAD OVER HEELS FOR THIS BREAKFAST.

It was so thick, creamy, chewy, vanilla-y and perfectly microwave-less!

Lunch was a series of snacks—the first of which continued to feed my sickly dairy craving.

And also helped make a dent in my never-ending VitaTops stash.

I let a BlueBran VitaTop thaw for 45 minutes.

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And then I combined it with a big bowl of vanilla yogurt.

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Made a delightful mess of it all.

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And enjoyed with an almond butter spoon.

One thing I found I don’t enjoy when I’m sick is nut butter because it sort of stuck to my throat. No bueno.

This was remedied by stirring the AB into the mix because it just added some always-welcome flavor to the creamy medley.

The BlueBran Vita was good—again, not great. It was certainly less dry than the Corn Vita—but I think this may have been due to the fact that I didn’t microwave it.

Word on the blog streets is that the chocolate ones are ze best so, even though I’m not a chocolate gal, I’m excited to try those out.

The next segment of lunch was finally normal sick food.

Instant Miso Soup.

Again, another food discovery that is going to be my salvation from starvation during Microwave Madness Month.

You simply mix a couple packets of miso paste, seaweed and tofu (looks gross, I know) with hot water…IMG_1574

And voila! Miso soup!

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I need to stock up.

The miso love got me out of dairy land and triggered a hot craving.

I put all the usual suspect into heavy rotation.

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As in I have no idea how many cups of tea I consumed yesterday. I think one day I’ll take pictures of every cup of tea I drink just to get a ballpark figure. Should be comical.

Hot craving subsided, and carb craving arose.

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As was the case on Tuesday, I was quarantined to my room. So again, chip hoarding commenced.

And concluded

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I need to find the little bags of FSTG chips that Kaytee reviewed because I know no self-control with these things.

My lack of self-control apparently applies to vitamins, too…IMG_1261 Gummy vitamins, anyway. Yesterday’s bedroom snacking also involved finishing my stash of calcium gummies. I need to remind myself that these are not candy!!!

Guess I’m going to have super strong bones…

Before I present dinner, I have to apologize for being a dinner repeater! I know I promised I’d do my best not to bore you all with my kitchen-less meals—which I suppose entails switching things up—but all I wanted was that habanero lime salsa I discovered Wednesday night. So, I created my dinner around it!

The staple of my dinner does not look appetizing, but I assure you it was.

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In the mix: 4 oz. diced chicken, 2 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt, 2 tbsp. roasted red pepper hummus, 2 tbsp. Wild Oats Habanero Lime salsa, finely chopped celery, finally chopped onion, sprinkle of taco seasoning and red pepper flakes.

Caliente! Pero delicioso!

Ensalada MexicanaIMG_1595 

In the bigger mix: lots of baby spinach and mixed greens; roasted red peppers; celery; red onion; corn; hard-boiled egg-whites (filled with más habanero lime salsa); topped with the spicy chicken salad.

Inspired by Meg’s tabasco pools. I loved this!

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But not more than this!

IMG_1599  I enthusiastically urge you to try the yogurt-hummus-spicy salsa mix. I can’t even explain how incredible the flavor was. With a roasted red pepper cherry on top ;) .

On the side I utilized another fridge item I’d prepared pre-kitchen demolition.

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And successfully (unlike attempt numero uno) made carrot fries.

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I’m anticipating an addiction.

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Perhaps because they are so incredible. Perhaps because I like anything I can dip in honey mustard.

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I won’t be carrot peeling without a kitchen—but I’m thinking I can chop up baby carrots for some baby carrot fries!

Since I was clearly trying to overdose on spicy salsa, I filled another green bell pepper with my newest spicy obsession (sorry, Sriracha).

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This time sans hummus happy trail.

And—just because I think my unstoppable appetite is sort of hilarious—here is what was left of my salsa jar literally 24 hours after I opened it.

IMG_1609 Perhaps I shouldn’t be so proud of this?

After dinner, I realized I hadn’t eaten any fruit so I had a nectarine.IMG_1612

Which was meh.

Then, once I felt I’d gotten my daily nutrients, I got to the good stuff.

Kettle corn—Sriracha added halfway through.IMG_1507

Because I also think spiciness helps remedy illness ;) .

And now, the weekend begins!

But before I bid you adieu, I want to say feliz cumpleanos to my dear friend and #1 reader, Ms. Erica Finkelbutt!

We’ve hiked our way through Israel’s terrainn18408515_32672905_8092

And then went on to dance our way through Spainn18409919_34175226_1011

We’ve fallen in love with Parisn7406328_33203713_8943And the magic of a French kiss

Let’s hope tonight doesn’t end like this…n18409919_33041583_1283

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

HAPPY 22nd BIRTHDAY<3

I’m off to continue DayQuil chugging in hopes of being all better for mi amiga’s birthday festivities. I hope you all have fun weekend plans!

-Sarah

Kitchen-Free Is the Way to Be

Uh, not really—but, so far, eating is not taking a beating!

This morning I awoke to lots of banging. (I don’t have to say it, do I?)

I was initially pretty choleric—and bitter towards the construction workers making all the noise—because it was 7 a.m., and I’d slept for approximately 4 hours.

Insomnia is a pretty logical byproduct of taking unmeasured swigs of this all day.IMG_1514Woops.

My bitterness subsided once I realized that, in the midst of demolishing my kitchen and waking me from my beauty sleep, the construction workers were blasting Miley and gleefully singing along. Needless to say, I have a newfound respect for—and desire to be friends with—my new housemates.

But let’s rewind to Wednesday morning’s DayQuil chugging.

After realizing I was pretty sick, I decided to have a breakfast (of sorts) in bed, alongside my orange shots.

Cafe con leche de almendras

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And a Clif Z-bar—pictured on my stomach, not a black backdrop.

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I almost never eat bars, but I was so lazy yesterday morning. And all I wanted to do was stay in bed and blog-read. And so I did.

For two hours.

The only thing to pry me from the warmth of my comforter and the food porn of your blogs was the doorbell.

SO worth getting out of bed.

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An enormously generous package from the Newman’s Own Organics Fairy, a.k.a. Sally. Thank you so much! I can’t wait to dig into ze goods—particularly the pretzels, dried fruit and Fig Newman’s.

I was oddly tempted to empty the contents onto my floor and bask in a bed of Newman’s Own goodies for a Hug-a-Carb photo shoot. I didn’t, but the temptation is still sort of lingering…

Organically excited, I decided to make my sickly self a real breakfast. (My appetite is rarely affected when I get sick. I feel like I’m the only person whose ability to eat normally is never inhibited by illness. Coughing, sneezing, chills and a fever? Psssh. I cannot be tamed. How’s your appetite when you get sick?)

I decided to make something super simple that I’ve been wanting to try since seeing it on Lindsey’s blog.

Breakfast sushi!!

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3/4 pear & almond butter rolled in a whole wheat wrap; doused in cinnamon. IMG_1518

This was delicious, and I definitely anticipate a few encores throughout Microwave Madness Month. Why is finger food infinitely more enjoyable than utensil-mandated food?

A little later, back in bed, I enjoyed another utensil-free food: my last honey crisp!

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Yea, I told you there would be a downgrade in food presentation. Gone are the days of photogenic cinnamon-sprinkled and nut butter-drizzled slices, made possible by kitchen-y bliss. Tear.

Lunch was my D.I.Y. Egg Salad Sandwich, with a slight twist.

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On top of the mayo layer, I added a little Dijon mustard.

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Egg whites galore.

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I didn’t think it was possible to elevate the egg-whitey excellence of this sandwich—but the Dijon addition was brilliant.

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Another anticipated encore.

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Remember when I grilled five zucchinis, but warned you they wouldn’t last long? By yesterday evening, that once-full-to-the-brim container looked like this.

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While coming up with a dinner plan, I polished off my dear verde cheetahs.

Just as I was suffering a bout of dinner-block, Kev Thug delivered 5 glorious containers of greens!

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I told him I was worried I wouldn’t get enough veggie-action throughout this kitchen-less month since I eat so many salads, and chopping/washing lettuce is not so doable. So, being the nutritionally-considerate cutie that he is, he came through with enough pre-packaged salad to tide me over for the next week. Bueno!

He also bought a ton of pre-cooked chicken—which I gladly utilized as my protein source for a hangry dinner ensalada.

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I rolled several ounces of diced chicken in a bowl of Sabra’s Greek Olive hummus, and then I broiled the pieces (in the toaster oven, of course) for about 7 minutes.

I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed chicken so much. It was so flavorful. I ate about half the amount I prepared before throwing it onto my salad—simply because I couldn’t stop myself!

The remainders played in an integral role in an enormous Greek ensalada.

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In the mix: approx. 39339248 fist-fulls of mixed greens, celery, green bell pepper, roasted red peppers, red onion, oil-cured olives, feta and the best chicken ever.

Drizzled with my new favorite balsamic-alternative:

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The superstar bites included hummus chicken, olives and feta. So gratuitously Greek :) .

On the side, I had a green bell pepper, halved and filled with deliciousness.

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By deliciousness, I mean my new favorite salsa:

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This was stunningly spicy and flawlessly flavorful.

Topped off with a hummus happy trail!

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Again, another approved (and encouraged) staple for kitchen-free month!

Dessert was really out of the ordinary for me. A.K.A. it wasn’t popcorn.

Another weird thing about the way I respond to sickness: I convince myself that really hot and really cold foods/drinks make me feel better. This usually means a lot of tea-chugging and uncharacteristically frequent ice cream consumption.

Last night, I got my hot and cold in during dessert.

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Black and white cookie? I wish No.

No Pudge Brownie with vanilla fro-yo!

As I’ve said, I’m not a chocolate person. No Pudge brownies are the only ones I really enjoy. I think this is because I undercook them (so they are sort of pudding-ish) and prepare them with plain Greek yogurt (opposed to the vanilla yogurt called for in the directions). You have to use about double the suggested 1 tbsp. of yogurt (for the single serving preparation) since Greek yogurt is so much thicker—but I love it because the brownies come out really tangy and creamy. Maybe a devout brownie-lover wouldn’t like my method—but this is the only way I like my brownies!

The hot and cold combo was on-point, and, as usual, I convinced myself that it made me feel better.

This remedy didn’t prevail to sideline today’s sickly symptoms. So, I’m off to continue my green tea treatment.

Hope you’re all warm and toasty on this torrential Thursday!

-Sarah

Microwave Madness Month

Feliz miercoles!

I enjoyed reading all of your guesses as to why my eats will be undergoing a makeover of sorts for the next month. I’m not training or traveling—though neither is bad idea (especially the traveling)! I’m not doing a vegetarian, grocery or budget challenge—though all sound oddly enticing (me gusta competition). And I am definitely not going dairy-free; you know that would entail giving up crack cream cheese AND a beloved Greek delicacy, right?

The one correct hypothesis came from resident smartie, Ms. SnackFace, in my numero uno comment. Kailey wrote:

Hmmm, my guess is that you’re cutting out dairy for a bit? I don’t know. Or you’re going to be in a living situation that doesn’t allow you to have your own food/kitchen.

As I said, erroneous on the dairy-free account—though you can’t blame a vegan for throwing that one out there ;) . However, the kitchen-free living situation? Right on el dinero.

Yes, for the next month (hopefully not longer!!), I am a kitchen-less foodie. Oxymoronical, no? Worry not. I’m not moving to a third world country or a halfway house, or some other kitchen-less land. I’m just getting my kitchen renovated.

This is not a simple renovation, hence our contractor estimating 6-8 weeks of construction—with the kitchen being completely out of commission for at least 4 of those weeks. Oh, we’re also doing the dining room—which means that the entire contents of my kitchen and dining room are temporarily residing in my living room. It’s a pretty hysterical sight: refrigerator, dining room table, necessary kitchen appliances, plus pantry food I’ve deemed necessary—all in the corner of my living room.

So what does this mean for Los Foodie Diaries?

  • Hopefully not its demise
  • A LOT of microwaving
  • A LOT of toaster oven-ing
  • An influx in eating out (TWSS)
  • A downgrade in food presentation :( —no kitchen means limited/disposable dishes & hand-washing everything. Que Amish!
  • An increase in very simple & easy to re-create meals (that’s a plus, right?)
  • Withdrawal from these:

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Although the idea of having to microwave most of my food for an entire month is causing a littttle bit of anxiety, I’m determined to make this work. How? I am challenging myself to be as creative as possible with my microwave & toaster-friendly eats. Why? Porque I love you all, and I don’t want to bore you to death with canned soup for every meal. Trust me, canned soup will be aplenty—but I’m going to do my best not to let my kitchen-less restrictions get in the way of delicious, healthy food. If the dorm room chicas can work it out, so can I :) .

If you have any tips for easy, virtually-appliance-free eating, I’d love to hear them. Also, local amigas, feel free to invite me over to use you for your kitchen cook for you :) . Will work for kitchen-access.

Hopefully the challenges that come with a kitchen-free vida make for some interesting blogging!

Let’s get to Tuesday’s treats, a.k.a. day #1 of kitchen-free eats!

That’s Amore Oat Bran

…because clearly I can’t get enough strawberry amor.

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In the bowl: 1/2 cup oat bran; 1 cup water; brown sugar; 2 fresas positioned in corazon shape; whipped cream also in heart-form. Cooked in the everyone’s favorite radiation-spewing household appliance—by necessity, not choice.

Non-Pleasantville foto:

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Moral of this microwaveable story: Micro-ed oat bran is still delicious! I prefer stove-top cooking because it’s easier to control the texture. But for a simple bowl of oats—with few mix-ins—the microwave got the job done!

I imagine that cooking banana & pumpkin oats don’t work as well in the microwave; have you tried either?

Lunch gave me hope that simplicity can breed flavorfully creative eats.

After toasting two pieces of whole wheat toast, I smeared a Laughing Cow wedge & raspberry preserves on one side.

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Honey maple turkey & “grilled” pear slices went on the other half.

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How, you may wonder, does one grill pears without a kitchen? Well, if you can get past the mildly unsanitary method, you can simply throw the slices directly onto your toaster oven’s wire rack. I wasn’t above it.

The result: a knock-off Thanksgiving day sandwich!

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I was reading a magazine with a turkey/pear/brie/cranberry sandwich yesterday, and I couldn’t shake my intrigue despite lacking half the ingredients. So, LC & raspberry preserves played the roles of brie & cranberry sauce. Encore, encore! This was SO GOOD.

Like these…

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Actually, the sweet potato FSTG chips are my least favorite flavor so far. Don’t get me wrong; they’re good. But they’re not mind-blowingly good like every other FSTG flavor I’ve tried. I think it’s because they aren’t sweet potato-y enough. Compared to (admittedly less healthy) SP chips like Terra & whatever JetBlue serves in-flight, these have a very faint sweet potato taste. Perhaps I’m too much a cheetah-enthusiast to enjoy my dearly beloved orange veggie in any milder form.

This obviously did not deter me from eating half the bag. I wish I were exaggerating. However, when one is exiled from the entire first floor of her house (ahem, where all the food is) due to the demolition of the aforementioned kitchen & dining room, one is forced to hoard bags of chips to one’s bedroom and commence mindless munching. If you couldn’t infer, I’m one.

While those chips saved me from starvation, this little dorm-friendly appliance saved me from sickness.

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Well, maybe not. But it made it better. I started to feel sort of sick in the afternoon, and my remedy for any and all illnesses is green tea. And lots of it. GT overconsumption was only made possible by the above water heater (not sure of its proper name).

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I probably drank 16 cups—con honey, obviously.

When construction ceased for el dia, I hit up the previously forbidden fridge for a snack.

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Container of plain greek yogurt & Fiber 1. This is one of my all-time favorite simple yogurt mixes. I know a lot of people stay away from F1 because it has high fructose corn syrup. But it’s one of the only cereals I really like—and I’m not really sure where I stand on the whole HFCS thing—so I enjoy it in moderation. What are your opinions of HFCS?

Dinner Part I was only made possibly by my foodie foresight. On Monday, before my kitchen was ground into debris, I decided to prepare some food that (1) could not be cooked sans kitchen and (2) might come in handy during these hard times.

One of these items was one of my dietary staples: Green Cheetahs.

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That would be FIVE zucchinis—grilled to charry perfection—in that container. Seems like a lot, but it won’t last long.

I had a big pile of mis favoritos alongside some steamed green cauliflower, and Soy Vay!

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For the main event: Toaster-oven pita pizza.

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I prepared this the same way I do in my standard oven: Brushed with EVOO, baked at 375 degrees for 5-6 minutes on each side. This time I topped it with 3 tbsp. (maybe more?) Greek Olive hummus, broccoli, spinach, red onion and roasted red pepper (all cooked in the microwave!) and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Broiled for 3-5 minutes after the toppings go on.

SO HUMMUS-Y.

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SO CHEESY.

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SO NOT PIZZA. I adore thee.

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I have a feeling pita pizzas are going to become a staple. I promise to get creative with toppings. Any suggestions?

Something else that’s going to become (er, remain) a staple?

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Popcorn! If I’m being confined to microwave cooking, you best believe my favorite microwaveable treat will be making frequent appearances. Also—it’s National Popcorn Poppin’ Month! I needn’t any more incentive. Without access to a popper, it’s going to be Jolly Time/Orville Kettle Corn. I prefer Jolly Time; it is the best Kettle Corn ever! Chemical-laden corn never tasted so good ;) .

Still pretty sick, I drank this poison before bed.

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Cherry Theraflu is gross. But it knocked me out and made me feel a little better—so I manned up and chugged.

Before I go, please check out:

  • Natalie’s amazing non-profit program, Project Feed Me, which seeks to help feed families in need. Becoming a member and committing to food donations is ridiculously easy: All you need to do is buy two of the “recommended food items” each week for nine weeks. At the end of nine weeks, bring your items to your local food bank. It’s so simple—and really can make a huge impact.
  • Jenn’s interview with breast cancer expert, Dr. Kristi Funk. Amid all of this month’s breast cancer awareness fund-raising efforts, we have to remember to be aware of breast cancer as it pertains to us. Jenn’s interview is very informative and taught me some things about breast cancer I’d never heard. Did you know that Ashkenazi Jews are exponentially more likely to carry a gene that’s been linked to breast cancer? Or that drinking in excess of 5-7 glasses of alcohol per week increases your risk for developing breast cancer? There’s a lot of very valuable and interesting information in the short segment, so I urge you to watch it!

Ok, I’m off to O.D. on more green tea and get creative in the kitchen living room.

Buenos noches,

-Sarah

Strawberry Fields Forever

You know you’ve gone AWOL when your grandma calls to find out why you haven’t posted.

So, my apologies to both my lovely Nanny and my equally lovely readers for that impromptu hiatus. If you’ll have me back, I’d like to explain my absence.

Por favor, direct your attention to your browser’s URL window.

I present to you…

THEFOODIEDIARIES.COM

¡Sí! My own domain! I’ve been meaning to buy a domain for several weeks now because thefoodiediaries.wordpress.com was kind of a mouth full, no? However, I kept putting it off because I (quite accurately) anticipated that my “Internets” illiteracy would pose some problems in the transferring of blog content.

Let’s not dwell on how long the blog transfer took (4 days) or play the blame game (WordPress and/or PayPal). Instead, let us celebrate The Foodie Diaries’ independence! (From the wordpress affix?)

Your Google Readers, blogrolls and links should automatically re-direct to the new site. But if this is not happening, please let me know!

(FYI: I am fast-forwarding over the weekend because it involved me being the worst blogger ever [pitifully capturing approx. 3 food photos], and I’m trying to put the past behind me and change my bad bloggin’ ways.)

Ok, let’s kick off el blog-o nuevo with Monday’s eats, which—if this post’s title didn’t give it away—featured an exceptional amount of strawberries.

Hmm, strawberries? Not very October-y, I know. But I figure I’ll have several months to eat in a seasonally appropriate fashion—O.D.ing on pumpkin to my heart’s content—so I seized las strawberries.

My fresa-filled day began with whole wheat toast, a generous smear of cream cheese and strawberry slices.

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You know I swoon over anything featuring my crack of choice.

Breakfast part dos was fruit cereal.

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In le bowl: 1/2 gala apple, 1 bossy Bosc-y pear, figs, strawberries, slivered almonds, ground flax, cinnamon and vanilla almond milk.

Cold fruity cereal? Again, sort of out of season.

But, my friends, when you discover brilliance in a bowl, you do not neglect it simply because your peers have deemed it “unseasonal.” Fresh fruit marinated in almond milk is always seasonal, if you’ve any respect for your taste buds.

End scene.

Come snack time, I revisited one of my laziest and most delicious weekend discoveries, makeshift PB & J glo bites!

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Same as last time: warmed bran muffin with almond butter & strawberry preserves. I do want to get around to making the real thing, but the 1-2-3 allure of these knock-offs keeps diverting me.

Lunch was a variation of a sandwich that’s been on my mind since I  laid eyes on it during last Sunday’s Best Of…

Here’s my take on Ms. GC’s ingenious PB & strawberry sandwich.

PB & Fresa Quesadilla

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Ingredients:

-3 strawberries sliced

-1 whole wheat tortilla

-2 tbsp. peanut butter

Heat a non-stick skillet to medium-low and warm on side of the tortilla for 1 minute. Remove tortilla from heat, and smear peanut butter on one half. Return to skillet, and add sliced strawberries. Reduce heat to low, and warm until the underside begins to brown and the peanut butter bubbles slightly. “Close” the tortilla, and brown on each side for 1 minute—pressing with a spatula for several seconds on each side.

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Oh, the “sour cream?” Greek yogurt with a little maple syrup and a lot of cinnamon.

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Maybe I just think PB goes with everything, but the strawberry-PB combo was brilliant! And smearing that insanely delectable dollop across the whole quesadilla was invigoratingly messy & delicious.

Dinner came in two parts, and Part I was my only strawberry-free eat of el día.

Baked pita chips y hummus

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For the pita chips, I simply cut a whole wheat pita into triangles, brushed both sides with olive oil and seasoned with salt and baked at 375º for 12 minutes.

My H.O.C. (hummus of choice, duh) was Sabra’s Greek Olive Hummus. I’m pretty sure this flavor is new-ish because I hadn’t tried/seen it ‘til this summer. Olive-aficionada that I am, it was love at first dip.

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Hummus featuring olives + pita chips featuring visible salt crystals=proof that I am a salty-over-sweet chica, slash a sodium-fiend.

Dinner Part II was a new spin on my standard apple & tuna salad mix.

Playing the role of the apple? You guessed it. Strawberries!

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In the mix: 3 0z. tuna; 3 strawberries, sliced; 2 generous greek yogurt dollops; chopped celery; slivered almonds; lemon pepper seasoning; krazy salt and drop o’ honey.

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Thrown on a bed of baby spinach, romaine, red onion, celery and cherry tomatoes; decorated with ze standard honey/balsamic dressing mix.

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And since I was clearly on a mission to consume an entire pint of strawberries in one day, I went for a sweet & simple strawberry sundae.

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Ok, it wasn’t really a sundae. Just strawberries & whipped cream—but I can’t resist alliteration…

Is there any ingredient that finds its way into every single one of your meals on occasion? I don’t usually have strawberry-themed days, but I feel like there have been numerous occasions when ingredients like PB or apples make recurring appearances within a 24 hour period.

Alright, I must now depart to embark upon some errands. But, tomorrow I’ll be back with a mildly interesting update—nothing life-changing, but something that is going to seriously alter my eats for the next month! Any guesses?

Hasta mañana,

Sarah

The 7 Things I Hate About You…

Just kidding. I hate nada about all of you lovely people, but at the end of this post, I’ll reveal 7 things you didn’t know about me. Perhaps you’ll hate some of them, but I hope not.

(I also hope I’m not the only “adult” who automatically associates “7 Things” with Miley.)

Something I do hate? Windows Live Writer.

Once again, that female pup of a publishing program decided that she hated both me and my eats yesterday. So, I apologize for the hump day hiatus.

I also apologize if this post seems rushed, but I am ridiculously busy for once in my unemployed life. This is a good thing, and I should have a few life updates to share within the next few weeks.

(Food bloggers are all about the teasers lately, aren’t they?)

So, yesterday, in between writing and re-writing posts, cursing Windows Live Writer and, you know, living life, I managed to do a bit of eating. Shocking, I know.

Despite the fact that it was, perhaps, the windiest day ever in NYC, I started my day with iced coffee. Plus a plum to eat while pondering breakfast possibilities.

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Because I had some brown rice left over from my veggie burgers, I decided to make brown rice breakfast pudding. I’ve read several articles mentioning that this is one of celeb chef Bethenny Frankel’s go-to breakfasts—and I’ve been meaning to try it.

I’ve never been big on rice pudding, but something about this breakfast sounded really good to me. And it was.

Bethenny simply cooks 1/2 cup brown rice with 1/4 cup milk (I used vanilla almond milk), maple syrup, cinnamon, raisins and almonds for 5 minutes. I doubled the recipe because I somehow suspected that 1/2 cup of rice wasn’t going to be enough for breakfast.

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 NEW FAVORITE BREAKFAST. Cinnamon vanilla almond-y brown rice, plumped-up raisins, extra almond crunch and a hint of maple syrup. What’s not to adore? This was incredibly easy to make—and a serious contender for one of my best DPAABs.

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The only thing is, it didn’t keep me full for long. Even though I doubled Bethenny’s recipe, I was hungry 2 hours later.

At which point I opted for mas cinnamon and raisins.

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I had one of Kim’s Light cinnamon bagels—half with cream cheese and half with Smart Balance. Because I think it’s mildly blasphemous to enjoy a cinnamon bagel sans raisins, I threw some on top.

Me gusta. Kim’s wheat bagel is still the front runner—but this one gets props for packing A LOT of cinnamon flavor. This always warrants bonus point in my book.

Lunch was an egg-white omelet with spinach, roasted red peppers and cream cheese. Doused in sriracha, of course.

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To my fellow cream cheese lovers, if you have not yet introduced our dearly beloved spread to your omelets—PLEASE DO. It’s pretty life changing.

On le side I had a corn Vitatop.

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The very generous Vitalicious people sent me too-many-to-count Vitatops, and this was my very first. I LOVE corn muffins, and this was certainly no substitute for one. However, for a 100-calorie muffin top, it definitely nailed the “corn muffin” flavor. Maybe it’s just because I’ve never had a Vitatop before, but I wasn’t thrilled with the texture. It was sort of dry and a bit grainy. If you’ve tried Vitatops, have you found this? I’ll write up a full review once I put more of a dent in the 293293828472842384 muffin tops currently residing in my freezer.

Dinner, Part I: a very disproportionate plate of green cheetahs and carrot fries.

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Eight carrot fries, to be exact.

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I may or may not have gotten lost in a riveting phone conversion and baked the carrots for an hour. This resulted in approximately 54 casualties. Que triste.

Dinner Part II: this.

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Not really. That’s just a beautiful basil leaf, straight from el garden de Kev Thug.

Dinner Part II was actually…

pizza!

Who am I? I’m really not a liar; I legitimately do not like NYC pizza. But these pita pizzas? Whole ‘nother story.

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This one was actually a whole wheat wrap (which I liked better than the pita!) with 1/2 cup vodka sauce, 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella and fresh basil.

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Buenisimo.

Non-popcorn dessert was vanillia fro-yo & almond butter.

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Sorry for the meltiness, but I forgot to take a pic til I was halfway through ze bowl. Slash I don’t have the self-control to stare at fro-yo + AB through a lens before digging in…

Ok, onto el premio.

Gracias to the lovely Whitney for passing this along to me.

kreativ_blogger_award1 7 things you didn’t know about me?

  1. I suffer from chronic insomnia. This is self-diagnosed, but I’m fairly certain that WebMD wrote their insomnia description with yours truly in mind.
  2. Despite the fact that I’m 22 years old, I have seen (and loved) all three High School Musical movies. I know all the songs. And some of the dances.
  3. Equally embarrassing, I have recently developed an irrepressible, incredibly inappropriate crush on Justin Bieber.
  4. Despite those last two facts, I assure you I’m not a child predator.
  5. The first CD I ever owned was Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill. I think it’s hysterical that, at age 10, I used to belt out Alansis’ most eloquent lyrics (i.e. “would she go down on you in a theatre?”) without any idea of their meaning.
  6. I got kicked out of camp when I was 13 for sneaking to a boy’s bunk. Woops. The following summer, the camp tried to send me home three times, but Kev Thug refused to pick me up. Reason #1283232 he’s a thug.
  7. I was ranked 7th in my high school class. On the “Top 10” page of the yearbook, where my fellow overachievers chose Emerson and Thoreau quotes to appear under their mugshots, I went with the always insightful “Why was 6 afraid of 7? Because 7, 8, 9.”

And, I’m pulling a Jenny and passing this award onto everyone because I’m seriously obsessed [not in a Swimfan way] with all of you.

T.G.I.T.,

Sarah

So the FTC Won’t Let Me Be…

Hola! I’m glad you all were equally as amused by Dora’s Gigi’s annihilation of that cupcake. I can’t wait to show her future husband (whom she will find by way of avoiding corn on the cob) those pics. Suitable material for an engagement ceremony slideshow? I’m probably getting ahead of myself here.

In more recent cupcake news, remember when I told you about my favorite cupcake bakery, Little Cupcake?

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Well, I just passed by and saw:

IMG_1191PUMPKIN CUPCAKES & PUMPKIN LATTES! I cannot wait to try both; the black & white cake and turtle cappuccinos aren’t sounding so bad, either. I would bet money that Little Cupcake’s pumpkin latte is better than Starbucks—simply because everything this place makes is To Die For. Yes, the capitalization was necessary.

Plus, it’s a local business—down the block from two franchise cafes, one being the green straw-laden monopoly—and I’m all about spreading the local love.

Ok, I’ll stop professing my love for Little Cupcake because it’s starting to sound like I have an endorsement deal. In light of the new FTC blogging disclosure guidelines, I guess I should assure you that I don’t. I’m just an extraordinarily excitable cupcake enthusiast.

What do you think of the new FTC guidelines? Perhaps it’s because I studied journalism, but I think they’re a move in the right direction. The principles of journalism are deeply tied to the goal of transparency. Now, as blogging moves more and more into the realm of journalism, I think it’s important that this community be held to a similar code of ethics. Moreover, I think it’s an honor that the FTC takes our voices and opinions seriously enough to hold us accountable.

I know that journalism spiel seems a little out of place from the girl who drops TWSS bombs wherever she can fit ‘em in, but I think these guidelines will have a significant impact on the role of blogging. In fact, they may be yet another testament to the print-to-web overhaul with which the publishing industry is grappling.

I’m really curious to hear what you all have to say about the guidelines—so, por favor, speak up!

Sidenote: Does anyone know what song the title of this post is from? Well, the original lyrics reference the FCC, not the FTC, but whatevs.

Onto Monday’s eats.

I know it’s only October, and I know last week I was chugging a lot of cold weather Haterade, but yesterday’s breakfast was Christmas-tacular. Not to skip over my beloved days of Hallow and Thanks, but Monday morning bore merriment. I’ve been known to bust out my N’SYNC holiday cd months in advance—so a wintery bowl of oats wasn’t really out of character.

Sugar Plum Fairy OatsIMG_1183

In the mix: 1/2 cup oats cooked in 1 cup water, cinnamon and 1 tbsp. maple syrup; topped with one massive plum, cinnamon & sugar.

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Mmmmmmm-azing. Yesterday my fairy dust came in the form of pure cane sugar. I don’t think I’ve brought this up before, but I usually rely on Splenda for my sweetener. This is a habit I’ve been meaning to kick for a while—but the whole not sweetening my coffee thing never seems like a good idea at the time. Thus the “I’ll start tomorrow” cycle began.

I’m not sure what I think or believe about the health drawbacks of Splenda because I haven’t dug too deep research-wise; but I do believe that nothing artificial should be consumed in the excessive manner I abuse those yellow packets. I do want to learn more about the health benefits of different sugar alternatives, like Stevia, but I’ve often considered just switching to plain old sugar.

I want to write a more in-depth post on this topic once I do a bit more research, but, for now, I’d love to know where you stand on the sugar vs. stevia vs. splenda spectrum. Why do you stand by your sweetener of choice?

Alongside my Nutcracker oats, I had a honey crisp with a spoonful of almond butter.

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Honey crisps + AB = made for each other.

I dug into my veggie burgers for lunch.

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I didn’t purposely make that egocentric “S;” it just happened…

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On an Arnold’s rye sandwich thin: homemade rice & bean veggie burger, fresh baby spinach, laughing cow and ketchup.

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I’m liking these veggie burgers even more than when I first tried them! (1) The soy sauce + rice in burger form continues to blow my mind. (2) I like that homemade burgers are bigger than the frozen kinds; I like the size of Dr. Praeger’s, but I think Boca’s are pretty wimpy. (3) These are really savory and went so, so wonderfully with the light creaminess of the LC.

On ze side was a big bowl of BIG grapes.

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Seriously, these grapes are very large and in charge. Is it weird that I like them better that way?

Moving along… While contemplating dinner options, I broke into my FSTG stash and tried the Yellow Corn flavor.

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These are a much more standard tortilla chip than the Multigrain or The Works flavors—but very good. Think gourmet Tostito. Expect a full review once I get through all the goods.

I busted out the Sabra, some leftover black beans and green pepper Tabasco to create my perfect nacho.

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Yes, I constructed each chip, one by one, to ensure accurate bean:hummus:hot sauce ratios. I am willing to put in work for flavor perfección.

I’ve been craving a Greek salad lately—which is weird because I’m not generally crazy about Greek salads. But I decided to make a Greek chicken salad to go on top of a standard Greek ensalada.

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In the mix: 3 oz. cooked chicken, 3/4 cup chopped cucumber, 4 quartered cherry tomatoes, handful oil-cured black olives, 3 tbsp. plain greek yogurt, 3 tbsp. crumbled feta cheese, lemon pepper seasoning and krazy salt.

I dressed the salad with this little gem I found hiding in my pantry:

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Greek chicken salad went atop 3 cups baby spinach, cucumber, onion and mas feta.IMG_1294

The dressing was good, but I’m not sure it was really necessary because the chicken salad had so much flavor.

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After eating this, I’m pretty sure chicken salad was meant to be made with olives and feta. Just saying…

After—without exaggeration—eating popcorn every night for an entire week, I am declaring this week no popcorn week. This is probably a poor decision because popcorn is a pretty healthy dessert option amid the sea of baked goods and ice cream that linger around mi casa. However, I want to experiment with other dessert options—and make sure I’m not actually addicted to popcorn.

Last night’s non-popcorn dessert was actually an upgrade from popcorn, health-wise. I saw this on Em’s blog yesterday and immediately wanted to try it.

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A big bowl of grapes doused in applesauce. (Can you tell how massive those grapes are??) This was SO GOOD! And surprisingly filling. I am liking no popcorn week so far :) .

Any non-popcorn dessert suggestions?

Hope everyone’s Tuesdays are treating them well!

-Sarah

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