Muffin Top Morning

Beauty can be seductive.

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Of this I was reminded during yesterday’s encounter with coffee art. As I creepily creatively gazed into the motions of my morning J, the enchanting swirls beckoned me to take a sooner-than-usual sip. Curious to taste the talent in the midst of its performance, I obliged.

Bad call.

Coffee—even the most alluringly elegant cups—should never be consumed a mere 30 seconds after being brewed. Never.

My preemptive sip left me a scorned woman with a very burnt tongue. I sought out the quickest remedy I could think of, which came in the form of a heaping spoonful of vanilla bean ice cream.

Mucho mejor—still a little upset with my coquette of a coffee cup—but ready to take on breakfast.

I’d already decided on my main ingredient

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el bran muffin. I love muffins (you know it’s coming… TWSS), but I am a discriminatory lover of only the tops. So my master plan was to crumble the toasted muffin top over plain greek yogurt, and perhaps jazz it up with a little PB.

Well, I had to abort breakfast Plan A when I realized this was all that was left in my greek yogurt container.

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That, my friends, is a dollop (it weirdly looks like a lot in the picture, but I assure you it was a measly amount) , not the bountiful base required to craft my conjured up branny breakfast.

However, all thanks to the lingering taste of vanilla bean still cooling my wounded tongue, I came up with a better-than-Plan-A Plan B.

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That’s right.

Muffin Top (the kind you eat, not the kind you get from eating) Ice Cream.

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PB included. If you recall last weekend’s discovery that ice cream is an acceptable part of a healthy breakfast—for its calcium—I am happy to report that Ice Cream For Breakfast Part Dos supports that finding. For validity and accuracy purposes, I implore you all to test my hypothesis and report back ;) .

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I did make an effort to balance things out by throwing a few banana slices and cinnamon on my yogurt dollop for a breakfast dessert. A little backwards, but it worked.

I ate a light-ish lunch exactly 3 hours before yoga, in an attempt to avoid the nausea I felt during Wednesday’s class.

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Egg white omelet with American, broccoli and roasted cherry toms. And, of course, sriracha.

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I usually consider the cheesiest bites the best, but I sort of played favorites with the roasted cherry tomatoes during the consumption of this particular omelet.

Fast forward three hours. I’m supposed to be sitting in a 105 degree room, but my crazy body was somehow still ridiculously full from an omelet and half a pita. Loco.

That—followed by a pretty loud and painful hip pop—tore me away from my yoga streak. I was kind of cranky because I’ve been on a legitimate yoga high—but I didn’t feel like introducing my undigested omelet to a 105 degree room full of well-digested people just trying to get their yoga on.

As dinner came, crankiness went.

What appears to be a standard grilled chicken breast…

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is actually grilled chicken stuffed with feta, oil-cured olives and sun-dried tomatoes.

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Probably one of my favorite flavor combinations ever. You will learn that I’m mildly obsessed with both olives and sun-dried tomatoes. So, whenever they combine forces, I achieve a very distinct, unmatched level of elation.

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Along for the ride: a few sweet potato fries (I may have burned the rest…) and olive oil & garlic couscous.

‘Twas a delicious dinner. And since I began my day with dessert, I called it my last meal ;) .

I’m off to kick off the Jewish New Year—Rosh Hashanah—with la familia. A.K.A. Sunday’s weekend recap will feature some drool-worthy eats.

L’shana tova to any of you who are also celebrating the new year!

-Sarah

Sarah’s Own

There once was a man named Bikram

Whose practice I tried out on a whim

Though I’m feeling quite sore

I understand its allure

For yoga’s sore beats the bore of the gym

And that was my roundabout, limericky way of telling you that Wednesday morning delivered just as much soreness as Tuesday’s. And that I liked it? Perhaps it’s because exercise hasn’t made me this sore in a while, but I’m sort of taking pleasure in the discomfort. Now that I officially sound like a masochist, let’s redirect our attention to yesterday’s eats.

Hump day kicked off with some coffee art.

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I want to assure you that the above montage is one cup of coffee, not four. Given my current state of soreness and, uh, the whole 90 minutes a day in a 105 degree room thing, I’m not trying to further dehydrate my body with my typical “I lose count of how many cups I’ve had” coffee habit.

After my java-fix, I went on to break-ify one of my favorite childhood snacks:  Fig Newtons. While other kids indulged in Mallomars and Moon Pies, I had a serious thing for the Newtons. I’ve still not gotten over them entirely, but these days—when the reminiscent craving hits—I go for the hydrogenated oil-free Newman’s Own version. That said, I present to you…

Newman’s Sarah’s Own Fig Newton Yogurt

1 cup of plain greek yogurt, sweetened with honey and cinnamon + fresh figs

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+ 1.5 graham crackers, which—if you’re lucky like me—will be the last of your bag and make for easy, mess-free crushing

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=

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Sarah’s Own Fig Newton Yogurt! That bodacious breakfast bowl took me right back to my childhood love affair…

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I can’t lie and say that once you mix it all together it tastes just like a Fig Newton. Because—let’s face it—Fig Newtons do not contain grahams, yogurt or fresh figs. But it was an absolutely delicious blend of figgy flavor.

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And I “mmmmmmmm”-ed at every single bite.

I ate my lunch in two parts in an attempt to not be too full for my 6 p.m. yoga class.

Warning: Lunch Part I looks a whole lot like breakfast—but I assure you, it’s a different fig-imbued bowl.

It is, however, nearly identical to last week’s “fruit cereal.”

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In the mix: ginormous Ginger Gold apple, 2 fresh figs, raisins, dried cherries, slivered almonds, ground flax, cinnamon and almond milk.

All the usual suspects with one “fruit cereal”-changing ingredient: dried cherries.

These added so much flavor to a bowl I’d previously deemed perfection. I stand corrected. “Fruit cereal” featuring dried cherries = perfection. If you’ve not yet jumped on this bandwagon, I urge you to board promptly.

Warning #2: Lunch Part II is not nearly as attractive as Lunch Part I.

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Warm cream cheese-packed WW pita =

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Something not nearly as delicious as I’d imagined. Foodie foul.

If you recall, this past weekend, I discovered that sliced apples, LC and warmed WW pita are a delectable combo. So, cream cheese lover and baked apple feind that I am, I envisioned a warmed-up, cream-cheesy remix that would put my prior concoction to shame.

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Erroneous on all accounts. While the cream cheese + apple flavor combo was on point, the “baked apple” got too mushy for a warm pita to handle, and things got pretty messy. Still, it was an edible mess—i.e. I cleaned the plate… but only because I needed pre-yoga fuel ;) .

***

Foodie’s Foray into Yoga – Day 3

Yesterday’s class was the most challenging yet. It may be due to my soreness, but the stretches felt so much deeper than they did during my first two classes. I also got a lot of personal attention during last night’s class because there were only six of us. The accent-less (phew!) Brooklyn instructor gave me a lot of guidance on the proper form of each pose—which was really helpful because I could definitely feel my body working harder once I was doing the pose correctly.

It was also more challenging because I got nauseated (thanks, grammar lesson from Prof. SnackFace) throughout last night’s class. I have a feeling this had to do with lunch Part II being consumed a little less than three hours before class. When doing Bikram, you aren’t supposed to eat for 3-4 hours before class. I’ve been struggling to eat the right amount—and at the right time—so I don’t get hungry before class nor do I go to class too full. I probably should’ve skipped my failure of a lunch part dos because yesterday I definitely got to class too full. No bueno, people.

Still, if my limerick didn’t give it away, I am still loving yoga. I’ll do a full re-cap at the end of my one week challenge, but for now:

Day 3 verdict: Though my body feels like it endured the Battle of Saratoga, this foodie’s falling head over heels for yoga ;) .

(While I warned you that I have a tendency to speak in poem, I never claimed to be good at it…)

***

Dinner last night was the monster salad I’d planned on eating Tuesday night before my chicken-craving hit.

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In the mix: chopped romaine, grilled chicken, grilled & marinated mushrooms, grilled onions, grilled peppers, roasted cherry tomatoes, oil-cured black olives and feta.

You’ll notice a whole lot of grilled in there because, as I’ve said before, I love salads with grilled veggies.

One unusual suspect in last night’s salad was:

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I almost never put feta in salads. I don’t know why, but I’m really not wooed by the cheese in salad thing. However, I realized that I currently have an abundance of feta cheese…

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So I went with it. And, I wont lie, it was a wonderful little addition.

Another component worth pointing out is…

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Though these resemble something that might be force-fed to Survivor contestants, they’re actually oil-cured olives. My favorite. Seriously, you can add them to anything or eat them straight-up. They do not disappoint. Ever. (I always weird myself out when I get that dramatic about food—but I’m being entirely serious.)

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Oh, and that brown drizzle you see, that’d be my super simple honey balsamic dressing. 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar mixed with 1/2 tablespoon honey. It’s pretty amazing—and seriously simple.

The best part about eating salad for dinner is (usually) having room for dessert—which came in the form of my previous PB discovery

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Really, I only ate this since I didn’t give you guys a picture last time, and I figured you might need some visual incentive to take the PB&Popcorn leap. Although, probably not…

Happy Office-watching!

-Sarah

A Yogi Grows In Brooklyn

I never thought I’d be sore from yoga. But, shortly after rolling out of bed yesterday morning, my body was ACHING. Despite the dramatic caps, I’m referring to the good kind of aching that makes you feel accomplished ;) . Nevertheless, soreness is soreness. And I was sore in places I didn’t know could be exercised. In honor of The Office’s premiere tomorrow, I’ll throw in a that’s what she said. But, mostly, I’m referring to unexpected innocent body parts like my ankles and elbows. Random, I know.

Monday’s 10:30p.m. dinner and 11p.m. ice cream “calcium intake” kept me full into the morning, so I wanted a light breakfast. Since my fridge is currently harboring a peach-packed produce drawer, I decided to try out this peach crisp breakfast that’s been on my mind since I found it.

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In the mix: sliced peaches warmed in the microwave for 90 seconds and topped with brown sugar and cinnamon; topped with 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt and honey; more cinnamon; topped with a 7 grain honey toasted TLC Kashi bar.

On a whim, I warmed the Kashi bar in the microwave for 20 seconds. What a wondrous whim that proved to be. Warm kashi –> even more of a peach crisp taste.

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One of the most satisfying DPAABs (desserts-parading-around-as-breakfasts) I’ve ever had. I strongly encourage you to try it.

My only criterion for lunch was that it properly fuel me for my second crack at Bikram yoga. My mind—and stomach—associate fuel with peanut butter and bananas, so lunch was a jazzed-up version of the trustworthy PB&B duo.

PB & Banana Quesadilla

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Ingredients:

-1 banana, sliced thinly

-1 whole wheat tortilla

-2 tbsp. peanut butter

-cinnamon

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 banana to the other half. 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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Melty PB & banana at its finest.

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Halved to decrease inevitable messiness, and accompanied by fresh figs and dried apricots.

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This would be the last impeccable bite. I’m still not sure how I mustered up the self-control to stop and take a picture instead of immediately inhaling it.

2 thumbs up to this lunch for being perfect yogi fuel :) .

***

Foodie’s Foray into Yoga – Day 2

Yesterday, I opted for the studio’s 6p.m. class because the 10:30 p.m. scarf-down-my-dinner necessitated by the 8p.m. class wasn’t really my foodie style. I figured a 6p.m. class would leave me home and showered by the not-ungodly-to-be-eating-dinner time of 8:30p.m.

Now, the title of this post does not refer to me. I do, indeed, live in Brooklyn. And, perhaps, I am a blooming yogi, but I’m no yogi yet. My title is in homage to last night’s instructor, who was the most hysterically entertaining embodiment of every Brooklyn stereotype… with a hint of yogi.

I am absolutely in love with my hometown, and I represent Brooklyn with the utmost pride. But the many stereotypes of loud mouths, cringe-inducing accents and aggressive behavior—while not characteristic of all Brooklyn residents—do stem from reality and run rampant through the streets of Brooklyn on a daily basis. I’ve grown to find this culturally-unique breed of Brooklyn-ites quite comical, though I understand why outsiders may be intimidated/offended/repulsed ;) .

Last night’s yoga instructor was definitely of this aforementioned breed. His demeanor was far more Brooklyn than it was Bikram. He basically pimp-walked into the class—boasting a speedini and an abundance of chest hair—and addressed the class with a “Ok, let’s do dis, you guys!”

He had that typical Brooklyn “I’m talking like I’m at a Yankee game” tone, and it definitely threw me off. Speaking as one of the few Brookly-nites who bears no semblance of a New York accent (it’s weird, no one in my family sounds like they’re from New York), deep Brooklyn accents always amuse me. Throw one into a peaceful yoga setting, and the entertainment potential of the accent transitions to hyperbolic hilariousness. That said, I definitely awkwardly giggled throughout the first few minutes of class.

I tried to ignore the comedic aspect of the instructor for the rest of the class—because I knew I wouldn’t be able to focus or reap all of the benefits of Bikram if I didn’t do my best to take him seriously. A few repeated phrases emphasized his intense Brooklyn-ness—such as, “Open ya body like flowah petal bloomin’” and “Just do it, you guys, keep workin’ on a cell-u-lah level”—during which I internally chuckled. But, other than that, last night’s yoga session actually felt more intense and rewarding than my first night. This could just be because I had a better understanding of the poses and what was coming next, but—surprisingly—his unique energy really worked for (and entertained) me.

I guess this just shows that yoga doesn’t discriminate against any shapes, sizes or wretched accents ;) .

Day 2 verdict: Still loving it, still feeling sore, still excited to go back for more!

***

I planned on having a monster salad for dinner, but I was weirdly in the mood for chicken. I rarely eat meat—only because I generally prefer the taste of veggies—but, on occasion, I crave it. Last night was one of those nights.

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I cooked the (gigantic) chicken breast in a little EVOO and garlic and topped it with roasted cherry tomatoes—fresh from the garden!

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On the side, I sauteed onions, peppers, mushrooms and carrots in Soy Vay—a.k.a. my a vegetable’s best friend. Soy Vay really does wonders for plain veggies when you want ‘em to pack a bit more flavor.

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What a well-balanced plate! I usually prefer the veggies, but last night the chicken stole the show. So, I ate all the veggies first and saved the best for last. When you like one part of your meal better than the other, do you eat it first or last? I always get the runner-up out of the way first. Maybe I’m just weird.

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Last night’s perfect bite: super crispy slice of chicken with mushroom and roasted cherry tomato. I died a little…

Come dessert, I still had my peachy crisp breakfast on the brain. But instead of repeating it, I opted for some peaches and cream. Know what I mean? (112, anyone?)

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BLISS.

The bottom of the bowl ended up pretty creamless, but—remembering my maple syrup + peach = deliciousness discovery—I threw on a little maple love.

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I hope everyone’s having a peachy keen hump day ;)

TWSS. Just another friendly reminder that The Office comes back mañana!

Namaste from a burgeoning Brooklyn yogi,

-Sarah

Foodie’s First Foray Into…

FITNESS!

Just joshing, but I couldn’t resist the allure of alliteration…

Despite my love for food—actually, due to my love for food—my immersion into fitness occurred many light years ago. However, yesterday’s still unbeknownst-to-you foodie first does involve fitness. Since I know you’re such loyal readers who won’t scroll down to find out, I’ve decided to unveil my fitness first after sharing one of my all-time favorite lunches. A little suspense—especially the kind complemented by food photos—is good for the mind, right?

Yesterday’s lunch was one of my go-to meals during my college cafeteria days. Before you shun it in fear that all things college cause an automatic 15-pound weight gain, this sandwich is actually a healthier take on a popular deli fave: the egg salad sandwich.

For an eggaholic, I’ve always been sort of on-the-fence about egg salad. In theory, turning one of my favorite foods into a convenient sandwich stuffer seems foolproof. But most deli mixes host an ungodly amount of mayo—one ingredient I can only appreciate in the most modest doses. That said, when my college roommate introduced me to her version of an egg salad sandwich—sans egg yolk, light on the mayo and heavy on the deliciousness—I quickly developed an addiction.

D.I.Y. Egg Salad Sandwich

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Ingredients:

-Whole wheat bread or sandwich thin, toasted

-1 tbsp. light mayo

-2 hardboiled eggs, yolks removed

-salt, pepper and paprika

For the easiest and most delicious egg salad remix you will develop an addiction to ever taste, smear the mayo lightly on each piece of bread. Pile up sliced egg whites on one half. Add your seasonings. Devour.

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Disclaimer: You will not be able to eat standard egg salad after experiencing this egg-white extraordinaire.

Shortly after lunch, during a standard BBM-your-day-away session, I made evening plans with a friend to embark on a fitness first. What fitness activity involves the month of September?

You got it. Yoga! (If you didn’t know, September is National Yoga Awareness Month.) I’ve always written yoga off as something that simply wasn’t for me. I’m a really fast-paced person, and the idea of doing non-cardio exercise that requires mind relaxation—a concept pretty foreign to me—just seemed like a bad fit.

I’ve always viewed exercise through cardio-goggles—perpetually favoring fast-paced, efficient running or elliptical workouts over strength training, toning or balance exercises. However, after two stress fractures within the past year along with a current mysterious hip injury, I’ve been in an on-and-off fitness rut. Left unable to run and without a gym membership, I figured now may be the perfect time to embrace non-impact, non-cardio exercise.

And so, yesterday, I decided to stop all my yoga-shunning and give it a shot. My friend and I decided on an 8 p.m. 90-minute Bikram class—before which you aren’t supposed to eat for 3-4 hours. I got some pre-yoga snacking in around 5 because I knew I wouldn’t live to see a 10 p.m. dinner without a little fuel.

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…which came in the form of PB of course. (Yea, I gave my teddy graham a PB George Washington wig. He liked it.)

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Balanced out with some fruity fuel.

So how did I fare in this fitness first? I don’t know if it’s too soon to drop the L-bomb, but I’m going with it. I love yoga! I don’t know how I’d feel about the more meditation-oriented forms, but I really enjoyed Bikram. It was definitely a challenge, and I was, by no means, able to do all of the positions. But I felt so great during and after the class.

I bought a one-week unlimited introductory pass, and I’m challenging myself to go every day this week to really get a feel for this yoga thing! I don’t want to sing my yoga praises too loudly since I’ve only completed one class, but I’ll definitely keep you posted on my amateur ventures into Yogiland.

By the time I got home and showered, it was already 10:30 p.m. Yoga—perhaps it’s just the Bikram—left me less than hungry, but I wanted to throw together a quick dinner.

I settled on the always-unglamorous canned soup

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along with leftover mashed butternut squash.

Five minutes on the stove and two minutes in the microwave… and voila! The least attractive but most efficient 10:30 p.m. dinner was served.      IMG_0469 IMG_0477

I may or may not have hit up some ice cream straight out of the carton—for efficiency purposes of course…

I’m really excited to try yoga again today! This one’s for my Yogis: Any tips or advice for a newbie? Non-yogis: What’s held you back from trying yoga? Or if you’ve tried it and not gotten into it, what didn’t you like?

Namaste ;-) ,

-Sarah

Case Of the PBs…

…because when you’re unemployed, you can’t really pull the “case of the Mondays” card.

However, working and jobless folk alike are susceptible to the lesser-known “case of the PBs.” This symptomatic condition is most easily detected by its token warning sign: an insatiable craving for all things peanut butter. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? The seriousness of this delectable indisposition depends entirely on the duration of the PBs. 24 hours of craving and consuming PB? Sign me up. But an entire week of PB on-the-brain and in-the-tum takes its toll.

I felt my current case manifesting last night, so I opted for a PB-infused dinner.

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Not the most glamorous shot, but these cold peanut noodles definitely hit the spot. Here’s my ridiculously easy recipe for this big bowl o’ PB goodness:

Ingredients:

-2 oz. whole wheat spaghetti

-2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter

-1 tbsp. crushed peanuts

-2 tbsp. vanilla soy milk

-2 teaspoons soy sauce

-1 tsp. honey

-1 tsp. sesame seeds

-1/8 tbsp. minced garlic

Simply, cook the spaghetti according to the directions on the box. Mix all of the ingredients together well. Add the cooked pasta, and let chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

I thought this was a trustworthy antidote to lull my oncoming ailment. But when (what seemed like) a never-ending bowl of peanut-buttery deliciousness left me only wanting more, I was sure I’d fallen victim to the PBs.

When ill, you must give the body what it needs. And so, I relaxed, watched the VMAs, tried not to expend too much energy screaming at Kanye and consumed a bag of popcorn. Dipped in PB.

After a very artistic and swirly cup of coffee this morning,

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I’d realized that my symptoms hadn’t subsided. And thus, PB was a must on the AM menu.

As a passionate lover of oat bran—and a current craver of PB—I’d decided upon my main ingredients but was unsure of what my somethin’ extra was going to be. Then it occurred to me, I’ve never tried PB & J oat bran!

I almost always eat my oats with a spoonful of nut butter, but I’ve never actually added jelly into the mix. So I decided to grab this Monday morning by its PB&J, and just do it.

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In the mix: 1/2 cup oat bran, 1 cup water, vanilla extract and thinly sliced banana—topped with none other than PB&J.

Another first? I tested out the infamous peanut butter drizzle, which worked perfectly…

IMG_0444 and left me with that highly-coveted and indescribable first peanut butter-packed bite.

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As Sheryl Crow once said, “the first bite is the peanut-butteriest.” No, that’s not right. But perhaps it’s time for a remix.

I can’t believe I’ve never attempted this foodie-staple of a breakfast before, but this will not be my last time.

I have to leave you with that drool-worthy spoonful because I have a lot of errands to run before I try out another foodie first this evening. Is the suspense killing you? A few hints: It doesn’t involve food, and it does involve the month of September.

Any guesses?

I’ll see you mañana with the rest of my eats, the progression (or secession)  of my PBs and my first foray into ______…

Hope your Mondays are going well!

-Sarah

Weekend Discoveries

So apparently I’ve deemed blogging a Monday-Friday shift—and decided you guys don’t mind when I go M.I.A. every weekend…

Jokes aside, as a newbie to food blogland, I’ve been trying to nail down that all elusive ideal posting schedule. I know I’d like to post at least once a day. But I think I need the Friday night-Sunday afternoon hiatus in order to fully immerse myself in all the weekend has to offer. By this I mean it is very difficult to achieve pith, wit and respectable eating habits when inebriated and/or hung-over. To assure you I’m not a total lush, I also enjoy having the free time to frolic around the city with my friends, at times without my camera in-hand.

That said, I do eat—lots—on the weekends. So I’m thinking every Sunday, a weekend-in-eats recap is in order.

During this particular half-dreary/half-beautiful NYC weekend, I discovered…

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-Yellow zucchini is undeniably tastier when slightly burnt.

-If you love this:

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But want to jazz it up in a manner more socially acceptable than this:

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Cinnamon is a completely different but equally as delicious addition.

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Seriously, sweet and salty—and something you need to try immediately.

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-The former, while healthier, aren’t nearly as honey-licious and satisfying as the latter. However, when the organic bears combine forces with the following weekend discovery….

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…and some vanilla bean ice cream….

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…they redeem themselves by playing a vital role in one of the most indulgent—and adorable!—dessert bowls to date. All is not lost. Phew.

-Peachy Keen Maple Yogurt=

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Greek yogurt + fresh peach slices + maple syrup, also known as my latest attempt to make breakfast taste like dessert.

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Eating peaches without maple syrup from here on out is going to prove difficult…

-Sliced apples and Laughing Cow in a warmed whole wheat pita is an incredible afternoon delight.

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And I’m pretty disappointed in myself for taking so long to unite these two foodie favorites.

-Soy Vey! teriyaki sauce makes vegetables taste better. No matter what.

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Especially when you are still trying to use up an abundance of butternut squash—and simultaneously making sure to eat it in new ways to preserve the strength of your love for said winter vegetable.

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The necessity of my finger to keep this wrap in-tact during its photo-op leads to my next discovery…

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-I routinely overstuff wraps to the point that they cannot close—or be consumed in front of (or by) any respectable human being.

Lastly…

-When you wake up craving ice cream, there is always a way to make it work (without eating straight out of the carton at 10 a.m.).

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I present to you: Vanilla Bean Irish Oats Ice Cream

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-Irish oats complimented by vanilla extract and cinnamon, topped with vanilla bean ice cream and, naturally, more cinnamon.

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I promise, this hot and cold combo will force you to view both oats and ice cream in a whole new euphorically delicious light.IMG_0419

In conclusion, ice cream can be a part of your healthy morning breakfast. For calcium purposes, of course.

I hope my discoveries make up for my weekend disappearing act! Bloggers, what’s your ideal blogging schedule? And, what’s your ideal posting schedule for the blogs you follow?

Enjoy what’s left of your lazy Sunday!

-Sarah

Eats for the Big Apple

I always have trouble talking about 9/11—mostly because that day, for me, was defined by an abundance of emotion coupled with a scarcity of words. On a day when an entire nation was at a loss for words, there was nothing to do but feel, think and wonder.

For all its tragedy and somber, 9/11 was one of our generation’s most poignant events. Living through it moved our nation to redefine its identity and rediscover its pride. Experiencing it as a New Yorker moved me to fall in love with the city that’s always been my home all over again.

So, today, instead of awkwardly fumbling for words to commemorate all that was lost on 9/11, I’m celebrating a city that refused to let tragedy rob its spirit and virtue. Today, I’m eating for the Big Apple.

My Big Apple Breakfast:

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I got the idea for fruit cereal from Katie at Yes, I Want Cake and couldn’t wait any longer to try it.

In my bowl:

  • massive Ginger Crisp apple
  • figs
  • raisins
  • slivered almonds
  • ground flax
  • cinnamon
  • almond milk

I let it sit in the fridge for 5 minutes because I like my real cereal soggy—and figured the same preference would likely apply here.

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Oh my god. Genius. The raisins and the figs were the perfect addition, and apples in almond milk? What an unlikely badass duo? This breakfast will be making frequent appearances.

I sort of wanted it again for lunch, but in an attempt avoid both monotony and physical transformation into a green apple, I went for this:

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That’d be Jenny’s best wrapper alive, which I’d previously remixed. I used all the original’s components this time: tuna, garlic & herb LC, plain greek yogurt, diced apple and salt & pepper on a whole wheat wrap.

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Lil’ Wayne’s got some competition because this is, indeed, the best wrapper alive. I loved my remix, but the apples really were the key ingredient. The wrap was  sort of overflowing—all the good ones do—but I managed to salvage any of its lost innards. Si, by that I do mean that I licked the plate.

Ok, I’m off to jumpstart my weekend (yes, weekends are still weekends when you’re unemployed because that’s when your employed friends come out to play!). I hope all your weekends are fun and food-filled!

T.G.I.F. (I wish Sabrina was still on),

-Sarah

No Such Thing As Too Much Butter…

nut squash!

That said, you can guess what made its way onto my dinner plate.

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B-nut! A normal person would be sick of this by now, but not I. Plus, if it takes a new form, it doesn’t count as a repeat, right? Forget sliced or spread squash, you’ve not experienced the butternuttiness of this vegetable until you’ve mashed it. Mind you, I am mashed sweet potatoes’ #1 fan. And I still go bnuts over this side. Does it resemble something Gerber’s might sell in a jar? Sure. But if the delicious creations that come from oats and yogurt have taught us anything, we know that Thou shalt not judge a food by its mushiness. That’s in the Foodie Commandments, right?

Anyway, to prepare, I mashed up the butternut squash, added a little smart balance, salt and—the ingredient that works its magic every time—cinnamon. To. Die. For.

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The main event was pan-seared tilapia with homemade spicy pineapple salsa. By homemade, I mean jarred Newman’s salsa mixed with pineapple and Sriracha hot sauce. It was a last-minute I-need-something-to-put-on-this-fish idea, but the sweet and spicy was on point.

A little too on point, I suppose. After dinner, all I wanted was more spiciness. So I turned to one of my all-time favorite snacks.

Disclaimer: I understand that most of you will think this sounds disgusting. That is fine. Still, I strongly encourage you to try it.

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Good ole’ popcorn—not the spiciest of treats…

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…Until you add this to the bag.

The result:

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Call me a freak, if you please. I can take it, but I stand by—and frequently consume—this flavor combo. My roommate introduced the creation to me in college, and I’ve been hooked since my first handful.

Do you swear by any food combos that others find weird?

Still tasting the hot sauce,

-Sarah

Finally Fall

So I know it’s officially been fall for a few weeks now, but it didn’t fully feel fall-y to me until this morning. (P.S.—Please do let me know if my allegiance to alliteration annoys you…)

My fall awakening: This morning was the first in months that I woke up and didn’t have to make the usually difficult decision between hot or cold coffee. When iced coffee stops sounding good to me, I know fall has, uh, fallen upon us.

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So I went for a fall-friendly, fuming cup o’ J—a little heavy on the cinnamon, but I’m pretty sure that just added to its fall-ish goodness.

One breakfast that always reminds me of fall is…

IMG_0323Apples & Cinnamon oatmeal. Though I have a never-ending supply of this in mi casa, I figured I’d save these for on-the-go meals or, more likely, for my lazy sister who would likely starve at college if not for instant oatmeal. So I opted for a D.I.Y. apples and cinnamon oatmeal bran.

I introduced the headliners:

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Which ended up looking like this:

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1/2 cup oat bran, 1 cup water, vanilla extract and cinnamon

And this:

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Apples never tasted so good. I cut up a large Granny Smith, threw a little almond milk in the bowl and sprinkled with cinnamon before microwaving for 90 seconds. Baked apples in 90 seconds? Who knew?

After being separated for independent preparation, I reintroduced the stars of my b-fast…

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Apples & Cinnamon oat bran > Apples & Cinnamon instant oatmeal. Duh.

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This was the perfect fall into fall breakfast, and I kept with the theme for lunch.

Since I was determined to make a dent in my butternut squash leftovers, I decided to use it in a warm veggie-packed pita. I’ve actually done this before—and it woos me every time: using steamed b-nut squash as a spread.

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After laying down some French onion LC, I spooned the steamed squash into the WW pita and mashed it down.

Then came the zucchini layer(s).

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My logic here: winter squash + summer squash = a fall squash medley.

Next came the onions—which I cut up and zapped in the microwave for a minute til they were perfectly soft.

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All together now…

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It ended up being a pretty full pita. The first half held up well, but pita-half numero dos sort of fell apart—which was actually fortunate because it prompted me to do this…

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Yes, that’d be the addition of honey mustard, which not only added another fall hue but also boosted this pita’s yum factor.

Meals like these—along with busting out the oversized sweaters and boots—make me so happy that fall is here! What are your go-to fall foods?

-Sarah

Salad Meets Grill

Because I’m on a mission to defy portion control have no self-control, I did some more bin candy grazing throughout the afternoon… and perhaps into the evening. This left me less-than-hungry come dinnertime, so I just had this:IMG_0322

Jokes, people. That was the boring base of what came to be a veggie-loaded ensalada deliciosa. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. Salads should taste good! If you’ve ever created a Whole Foods salad—hot bar mix-ins included, of course—you understand the flavorful potential that every bed of lettuce holds. One of my favorite “breeds” of salad are the kinds that host a mix of veggies from both the raw and cooked disciples. I’m mildly obsessed with throwing grilled vegetables in my salad.

Tonight I added a veggie I’d not previously salad-ified into the mix, one of my fall favorites: butternut squash! It can be a pain to prepare—but it is seriously so rich and versatile. Tonight I steamed it without peeling it first, which completely took the pain out of the prep.

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It literally just fell out of its skin after steaming for about 40 minutes. (Expect to see a lot of b-nut squash in the next few days because I’m pretty sure I have upwards of a pound leftover…)

Needless to say, b-nut was one of my cooked veggie components in this hot and cold mix. Its other hot brethren were peas and grilled zucchini. (Grilled zucchini boosts any salad’s savory status. Never fails.) The cold mix-ins were celery, yellow peppers, sweet onion and garbanzo beans.

 

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Dressed up in balsamic and celery salt, and accompanied by a whole wheat pita. My new thing: smearing a LC wedge in the warmed WW pita and occasionally stuffing in some of the salad goods.

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Halfway through, I realized I should’ve thrown these slivered almonds in…

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So I did! You see, I do exercise control with nuts if I happen to be polishing off the perfectly portioned remainder of a container… That counts, right?

I am so in love with the grilled-meets-raw veggie salad combo right now. Like so contentedly in love that I’m not even thinking about dessert. Sometimes I freak myself out when vegetables invoke this level of elation…

Buenos noches, bloggies,

-Sarah

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