Monthly Archive: November 2009

About me update?

So I’ve been thinking.

At first I was going to maybe update my “about me” section, but it’s hard to write about yourself out of the blue without any prompts.  So then I figured why not just ask you guys what you want to know.  I’m fairly open about my life on my blog, but who doesn’t like a good Q&A sesh, right?  Feel free to hit me up with questions and I’ll compose a post with the answers in a few days when I get back to normal after my West Coast holiday.  It’ll give me something to do on my numerous flights/layovers…

Feel free to ask anything; whether it’s as superficial as what’s my fave color (pink) or penetrating journalism like how I would bring about world peace (world unites over hummus?).  If a question is too personal or whatever, I just won’t answer it.

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I’m currently in Seattle sipping on a 30 cent Tazo chai tea (bring your own teabags and you only have to pay for hot water).  I’m using all will power to not bust open my luggage and snack on the (above) dessert that I made last night.  How bad will it look if I show up at my future in-laws house with an empty tin?  Vegan, gluten free, agave sweetened heaven.  Babycakes’ recipes are fool proof I tell ya.

Hope everyone is having a nice weekend, I’ll be relaxing sans technology (read: not blogging) for the next few days.  See you on the flip side.

91 Thanksgiving posts

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

Quite frankly, I delayed writing this post because I felt like everyone else’s thanksgiving eats were way more blog-worthy (and there were a LOT of them).  Plus, I didn’t get home from work until after 8 pm and all I wanted to do at that point was put on my PJs, watch football (slash Home Alone), and stuff my face (not in that order). 

On a holiday such as this, it would feel weird to eat before giving thanks, and so I feel as though I should acknowledge what I’m grateful for before I share my food.  [There’s logic in there, somewhere]

So here are a few of the things that I’m glad to have in my life…

  • my wonderful fiancé
  • my loving family
  • my beautiful sisters
  • my supportive parents
  • my friends (old and new)
  • my stressful, but rewarding job
  • my health
  • my happiness
  • my appetite metabolism
  • my readers!

And now, without further ado…just another day on the cardiac step-down unit.

I brought TWO Tazo Chai tea bags because Starbucks’ holiday hours were 7 am to 5 pm.  Not so helpful for an addict who has to be rocking a considerable caffeine buzz by 6:30 am.  Although not too different than my usual pre-packed work eats, there was something about this specific combination that made my tummy especially happy. 

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Apple, salad, dried fruit, bars, and leftover cornbread.  Perfection.  This salad was pretty freakin’ huge, and contained spinach, leftover curried parsnips/carrots, cherry tomatoes, and raisins.

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Recognize the new one among the bunch? 

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Yep, the first flavor I tried was the Tribal Cinnamon Oatmeal

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No superman vision?  No worries, see below.

Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Raisins, Organic Agave Nectar, Organic Peanuts, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Apples, Organic Almonds, Organic Whole Grain Crisp Rice, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Sunflower Oil (Organic Sunflower Oil, Natural Tocopherol, Organic Rosemary Extract).

Nutrition Info here

This bar tasted JUST like a bowl of oatmeal.  Delightful!  The flavor of the cinnamon and nuts tasted precisely like a bowl of oats with all the toppings.  The agave nectar made the consistency gooey without leaving anything sticky on my fingers.  It separated easily AND I was able to break off bites without it crumbling apart.  This is my ideal texture in a work setting because I can eat it easily on the go – no muss, no fuss (read: no crumb-covered scrubs).

Work was nice and mellow.  They overstaff on holidays because they want to make it as stress-less of a shift as possible.  Another perk of working holidays?  The chief of cardiac surgery buys a HUGE banquet style spread for everyone who works on Thanksgiving (and the time-and-a-half pay isn’t too shabby either…).  As gorgeous and thoughtful as the feast was, the vegan friendly options were extremely limited (as I suspected they would be).  Oh well, more for everyone else. 

I got home and was delighted to have already prepped a bunch of eats to replicate my own gourmet Thanksgiving meal. 

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Roasted veggies (butternut squash and brussel sprouts)

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Cornbread and broccoli

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Sweet potato tower

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Spinach artichoke dip with every carb vehicle in the apartment (represented by the above photo – which was a pathetically inaccurate display of the actual portions consumed)

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That’s more like it.  Goodbye cornbread, you were great while you lasted.

I was WAY too full for dessert.  Oof.  Food baby twins.  Like Kate Gosselin and the Octomom combined. 

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Instead I busted out an old friend.  Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea!  I rolled myself to bed after my feast for a serious snooze fest.  Off to the West coast for the weekend!

Bora Bora Organic Foods

A few days ago I got a wonderful surprise on my doorstep from Nicole of Bora Bora Organic Foods.

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She had contacted me a while ago about trying their product and after taking a trip to their website, I jumped at the chance.

Their bars are:

  • USDA Certified Organic
  • No Refined Sugars
  • No Preservatives
  • Gluten Free
  • Non GMO
  • Non Dairy
  • Vegan
  • Kosher
  • Zero Trans-Fats
  • No Soy

Ummm, sign me up!

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What cute packaging! 

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In addition to the t-shirt, temporary tattoos, and tiki mug, the package included four bars: Tiki Blueberry Flax, Tribal Cinnamon Oatmeal, Island Brazil Nut Almond, and Tropical Sesame Cranberry

I have since tried all four of these, and I can’t wait to find the rest of the flavors in stores soon (there are 10 flavors in total). 

Not only was I was REALLY impressed with their ingredients and nutritional stats but the unique flavor combinations were such a treat!  Bars can be so repetitive, but these had creative, delicious ingredients mixed in different ways that delighted my taste buds.  I’m not joking, I can’t wait to get my hands on some more of these.

Formal reviews to come…but for now, one word.  WOW.

A full lunch hour

This morning’s subway commute was eerily empty.  It always creeps me out a bit when there is nobody else in the car with me.  But then, I guess it’s better than being packed in the train like a can of sardines…

Munchables for the day:

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Apple, dried papaya/pears, 365 spelt pretzels, PB&J dipped MoJo bar, Honey Graham Z bar, and un ensalada enorme.

Work was nice and slow.  Happiness!  I love it when I get a full hour lunch break.  I enjoyed each and every bite of my packed eats.

I even got off work 5 minutes early!  I realize how ridiculous that sounds, but sometimes a mere minute can make the difference between a 10 minute express ride home on the subway and a 30+ minute schlep on a local train.  I got home by 7:15 so you do the math…

I was drawing a complete blank in terms of dinner.  Nothing sounded good.  Nothing!  (Hate that)

Have you ever started to prepare a meal knowing full well you weren’t really into it…and then it totally surprised you?

Well, that’s how this dish went.  I made a “vodka tomato sauce” (of sorts) out of smashed up cherry tomatoes, tomato paste, and plain greek yogurt…took one taste and chucked it into the trash can.  Trust.  That’s where it belonged.  It was way nast.  Then I remembered a recent WF purchase. 

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Quorn meatless and soy-free meatballs to the rescue!  Pretty good nutritional stats, huh?

I thawed a few and added them to a huge (and I mean HUGE) plate full of spaghetti squash (tutorial here).

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Also in the spaghetti squash pasta: cherry tomatoes and a few dollops of salvaged tomato sauce (not from the trash can, I still had the separate ingreds).  Check out those gorgeous spaghetti squash “noodles”!!

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What would a pasta be without nooch?

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Heavy handed?  I should say so…

The dish was outstanding, which was unexpected, and thus all the more pleasing.  There’s nothing like low expectations to really boost your opinion, eh?  The quorn meatless meatballs were different than anything I have tried before.  I liked them, but there was definitely something kinda funky about them that I couldn’t quite put my finger on…they were really salty (hello, 390 mg sodium per serving).  I think the part that weirded me out was how well they replicated real meat.  First of all, I’m not used to that taste, and secondly, it’s not a flavor I really care to recreate.  But for those who are into meat alternatives that taste fairly authentic…quorn is the product to go with.

I had a mayj squash baby after this dinner, and yet, I still had room for a 4×4  HUNK ‘o cornbread. 

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Yes, I took a bite before taking a photo…my bad!  :oops:

Anyways, I hope everyone has a FABULOUS Thanksgiving tomorrow.  Eat, drink, and be merry!  And do a bit extra for me.

Tutorial: Spaghetti squash

Being squash season, it was only a matter of time until a big ‘ol spaghetti squash found it’s way to my kitchen.

The first time I made this manned up enough to hack into this bada$$, I was more than a bit nervous.  I kept seeing all these gorgeous pictures of perfectly cooked stringy spaghetti squash throughout the blog world, but never really understood what exactly I was supposed to do to get there.  Fortunately, I pieced together a game plan…and got a pretty decent yield. 

This time around I felt like an old pro, so I figured I should take pictures throughout the process.  Since I had a million and one questions the first time around, others out there must too, right?  Well either way, here’s my photo tutorial of how to make spaghetti squash.

To split it, get a huge knife and deliver a swift blow.  You’ll notice two knives in this photos and that’s because in order to more easily hack it open, I first poke (stab) holes in the whole squash and then microwave it for 2 minutes.  Make sure you poke holes with a small knife first so it doesn’t explode, and also make sure you rotate it in the micro or it will get too hot in one spot.

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It should look like a pumpkin inside (but stringier and with far fewer seeds).

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To cook it, place it open side down on a pan.  If you want to, you can submerge it in a pan with an inch of water.

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Get your mind out of the gutter…

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I cooked this on 375 for an hour, but it does vary based on size and thickness.  To know if it’s done, poke it with a knife.  The knife will easily penetrate the skin if it’s ready. 

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Expose the inner flesh and let it cool a bit.

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Once it has cooled a bit you can begin to scoop out the stringy squash flesh.

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It will break away from the outside easily.

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You will get a TON of squash out of this, so what I usually do is tupperware the spaghetti squash in several servings and freeze a few for a (future) quick and easy dinner.  Don’t be nervous, it stores and reheats well, and you don’t lose any of the texture.

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Look how closely you can scrape!

Hope this helps anyone out there who wants to try spaghetti squash but was too nervous to try.  All you need is a big knife and some serious cojones.