Tag Archives: avocado

Day Two

Good evening! How are you all this beautiful Friday evening? I for one could not be happier about being in bed and under the covers at 11:30 on a Friday night, away from the blustery cold and a long day.  I’m a little too comfortable… I’ll be very proud of myself if I make it through this whole post without nodding off!

We ended up making rich mugs of hot chocolate last night before we went to sleep (I’m not sure there’s a more perfect nightcap on the market) using Jacques Torres’ hot chocolate.

Ari was in charge of the preparation….

He did a pretty good job.

The chocolate was very thick and filling, almost like a pudding.  I topped mine with marshmallows and cinnamon.

It knocked me right out, and I fell asleep almost immediately.   Although I’ve been getting less rest than usual this past week, I bounded out of bed as soon as my alarm went off.  Must be the pre-work jitters!

I made another rich breakfast, hoping it would hold me well into the morning: 5 grain cereal with ground flax, cinnamon, 1 small banana, warmed frozen berries, almond butter and agave.

I got to the office right on time, ready to start Day 2 of training.  Did I mention I have my own office? 😀   Around 11:30 my stomach was growling pretty loudly, so I dug around in my purse for a snack.  Unfortunately I was a little distracted last night and didn’t have time to pack a lunch or snacks, but luckily I found a Date Heart Thrive hidden away!

We broke for lunch around 1:30 and I dashed out to grab a salad.  Hopefully I’ll be able to plan better in the future… I can’t spend $11 every day for a mediocre meal!  I had a mixed green salad with marinated mushrooms, tofu, avocado, asparagus, and chili lime vinaigrette.  It was pretty blah.

I needed a little pick-me-up, so I visited the fancy coffee machine in the communal pantry.

We’re running low, but there are so many flavors to choose from! Each cup is brewed “to order”, with the push of a button.  Pretty cool, hmm?

I spent the rest of the day trying to learn as much as possible from my trainer… I’m on my own starting Monday!

After work, I met my Little Redheaded Friend for dinner.  We went to Friend House 2 (I was very sad to discover that the original Friendhouse, one block over, had closed within the last month 😦 ) for Japanese.

We started with miso soup:

For my entrée, I strayed from my usual order (sashimi) and ordered a roll combination instead.  I must have been craving carbs!  By the time I finished my Sweet Potato, California, and Spicy Tuna rolls, I was thoroughly stuffed.

Kalle and I sat and chatted for a little while and let our tums settle before making our way to Whole Foods for dessert.  We’d originally wanted to go to a proper coffee or dessert shop, but it was so cold and windy out that we just decided to take refuge in the supermarket.  I got a “Caramelita bar”, which tastes like a cross between a Hello Dolly/Magic/7 Layer bar and Pecan Pie.

This was as big as it looks, and then some.  I’d broken it in half and had fully planned on saving the rest for later, but we were in the store for almost an hour and I ended up nibbling the whole thing. It was a little too rich for me, but it was still very tasty.

Well, I made it through the post without falling asleep!  I’m watching A Christmas Tale while I wait for Ari to get home, but it’s a pretty long movie my chances of finishing it are slim.  What are your favorite holiday movies?

Have a great weekend!

Early Bird Special

Are you an “all or nothing” type of person? My body seems to be.  My internal clock is so out of whack right now!  For the past week, I’ve alternated between going to bed early and getting more than a full night’s sleep (10+ hours) and getting less than 6 and feeling completely wiped.  This morning was the latter.  Last night, even though I was exhausted,  I could not get myself to drift off.  I knew I had to get up early to get ready for an interview, and the pressure of knowing I needed to sleep only made it worse.  I dragged myself out of bed, bleary and blurry eyed (I’m blind as a bat), not even stopping to put on my glasses.  I had one mission, and one mission only.

Our house guest left this as a parting gift when he left.  I’m sure it’s delicious, but I really didn’t pause to smell or taste it before throwing it back.  I’ll let you know about that tomorrow 🙂

I replenished my supply of POMx to dissolve my Ester-C into.  I’m still so proud of myself for discovering this works!  (For new readers: I drink a little bit every day with breakfast to dissolve Ester-C, which aids the absorption of an iron supplement I take for low energy, but don’t photograph it every morning.)

I was excited to try out a new product with breakfast: Stonewall Kitchen’s Lemon Curd.  I’ve been curious about this for years, and my mom was nice enough to buy it for me this weekend.

Breakfast was a double portion of Sarah‘s pumpkin “cakes”, topped with a heaping cloud of 0% Fage, cinnamon, walnuts, and a scoop of lemon curdLemon Meringue Pumpkin Pie before 7 AM? Yes, please!

I had two back-to-back interviews starting at 9 (which I think went well); afterward I needed to unwind a little with some teasing retail therapy (AKA touch everything, buy nothing) at J.Crew and Anthropologie.  How is it that a store (or two) can be filled with only perfect things?  But my bank balance remained stable, and I left satisfied with the clothes on my back.

The tree is going up in Rockefeller Center…

I sat in the plaza and ate my Criterion apple.  Sometimes it’s okay to be a tourist in your own city.

After making sure there were no more stores I needed to browse through, I came home to get some done and eat lunch.  I heated up a bowl of Spinach & Rice soup and added lots of fresh parsley, and served it alongside a small sweet potato with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Perfect mid-Monday comfort food, if you ask me.

I thought I deserved a treat, so I had some 55% Dark Chocolate Peppermint Chococolove.

The rest of the afternoon was spent writing. Welcome to my “office”!  You may recognize it as the kitchen table, but during the day I spread out and use it for reading, writing, researching, and tea-drinking.  I tried the Sugar Plum Spice holiday teaso good.  I think this might have been the first flavor they came up with, because I remember having it a long, long time ago before they changed their packaging.

After successfully moving to decaffeinated tea, I didn’t want to go back to drinking coffee so late in the day.  Instead, I moved on to a cup of Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride.  I don’t know how they do it, but this smells so much like a cookie! It’s very vanilla-y, but it has a very soft taste without a hint of bitterness.

I finished up my work, then went into the city to meet my friend Ilena at 5:30 for an early dinner at FreeFoods NYC.

Tonight was another example of how many secrets this city has to offer, both food-wise and other.  I never would have suspected that a restaurant like this could exist (and thrive!) in Midtown Manhattan, in the heart of corporate offices and tourist attractions.  Was I wrong!  It goes to show that people do want to eat locally and sustainably, the options just have to be made available.

FreeFoods serves fresh soups, sandwiches and salads; they have raw, vegan and gluten-free options.

I built my own salad with arugula, avocado, spiced mango, shittake mushrooms, spicy shrimp and Manchego cheese with Thai basil dressing.

One of the staff members had made an extra Vitality Berry smoothie (sweet cherry, açai, blueberry- pomegranate juice, ginger-agave), so Ilena and I split it with our dinners.  It was really good, and helped ease the heat in my mouth leftover from my spicy salad dressing!

Ilena and I sat for a while catching up…

…and were treated to another smoothie sample! This time we tried the “orange creamsicle” (it’s new, and the ingredients aren’t listed).  As Ilena said, it really did taste like a creamsicle, “but not in the bad way”!

Since we dined early, I was back home by 7:30 to get some things done before Gossip Girl.  Sadly, it seems like most TV shows have already had their holiday finales, so I did some more work instead.  I did, however, make a fabulous dessert to fill my Chuck Bass-sized void…

My dad found a great deal on takeout containers of Tasti D-Lite, so he picked me up some peanut butter frozen yogurt.  I added frozen berries and Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter.

Another sweet end to a good day.

What was the best part of your Monday? What are you looking forward to about Tuesday?

P.S.  Please vote for Lyle!  She is a talented, beautiful actress who deserves to realize her dreams.  Register, vote, and help here get there!

LVP Takes On The Deli Sandwich!

Hey hey-yo! How are you? How was your Wednesday? I can’t believe that one week from tomorrow is Thanksgiving!  I usually try to wake up early enough to catch some of the parade, then my mom and I make our famous sticky bunsDo you have traditions you keep up every year?

I seem to have unleashed the oatmeal beast within me yesterday, because that was just what I wanted this morning.

In the bowl:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • frozen berries
  • frozen pineapple
  • flaxy peanut butter
  • cinnamon
  • agave

The rest of the morning was spent preparing for an interview.  I went into the city an hour and a half early so, subway problems or not, there’d be no chance of being late.  I had so much spare time that I went into a deli to go over my notes and read some Canadian snail mail.  To secure a seat, I bought some fruit salad.

The interview went well, I think; I was given an assignment to complete for Friday, so I went straight home to get started.  I needed some brain fuel, so I made a quick salad:

Our house guest came into the kitchen while I was assembling it, took one look at the bowl, and said, “Are you really going to eat all of that salad?! You must have a really fast metabolism!”  It was a salad of great girth, I’ll give him that. But of course I ate every scrap 😉

In the mix:

  • spinach
  • grape tomatoes
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1/2 avocado
  • leftover salmon
  • dressing made with rice vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds & chili flakes

The Lindt store on 5th  was handing out holiday truffles on the street today, so I snatched one up and had it for dessert.

My body must have needed sleep because I nodded right off after lunch! Today is the fourth consecutive day I’ve gotten up significantly earlier than I’m used to, and the rest of the week will be no different.  Hopefully in the next few weeks there will be more early mornings and regular hours, if you catch my drift! When I woke up, I made some coffee and snacked on these Jalepeño Honey Mustard Pretzel Sticks from Kay’s Naturals.

These are my favorite of the Kay’s products I’ve tried; they’re satisfying, and didn’t leave me with horrible garlic breath the way the protein chips did.

The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent working.  When it was getting close to dinner time, I simmered and marinated some tempeh using the recipe for Hot Sauce-Glazed Tempeh from Veganomicon.

After about an hour, I plopped the tempeh onto the George Foreman, the apartment-dweller’s best friend.  Aren’t grill marks satisfying?

I proceded to make one of the best sandwiches on earth: The LVP Reuben.

A reuben sandwich is traditionally made with corned beef, Swiss cheese, saurkraut, and creamy salad dressing.  I don’t remember eating one even when I did eat meat, but my version is much more appealing to me.  It’s based on one of my all-time favorite sandwiches: grilled cheddar with Granny Smith apple slices on Peppridge Farm Cinnamon Raisin Swirl bread.  Tonight, I went a step further…

Grilled cheddar with Hot Sauce-Glazed Tempeh, Gala apple slices and baby spinach on Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel bread.  My tum is grumbling at the memory.  I also had a bowl of Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato Leek Soup, garnished with cinnamon, nutmeg, shredded coconut and parsley.

Dinner for 1, at home, does not have to be boring.

Luckily I had the foresight to plan my dessert early in the day; I had two bananas sitting in the freezer and  waiting  to be processed into Chocolate Banana Soft Serve.  Three words: Move over, Stögo! I topped mine with roasted almonds and walnuts.

It was rich, creamy, and far better than anything packaged I’ve bought recently.  You better believe I licked up every last trace of “batter.”

I can’t wait to play around with this! There are so many options based on what’s in the pantry alone.

After dinner I finished my reading, and just as I was about to e-mail my notes to myself (I type everything out on my Blackberry… it’s an odd habit), the memo deleted itself.  I searched IT message boards, asked people I knew with Blackberries if there was any way to retrieve data that wasn’t backed up on a computer… nothing.  Seven hours of work has been LOST.   So… tomorrow will be another early morning.  It’s not the end of the world.

Bonne nuit 🙂

Early to bed, early to rise…

Is it wrong that it’s only 9:15 and I’m considering going to sleep as soon as I Love You, Beth Cooper (one of the silliest movies I’ve seen) is over?  When sleep calls, I’m not one to ignore it!

Yesterday I got up early, packed up, had a quick breakfast and headed out.  I toasted an Ezekiel English muffin and topped one half with a light Babybell cheese and egg whites and the other with peanut butter and raspberry jam. Fun fact: I lost my first tooth in a Babybel cheese!

Breakfast Sandwiches

I met my mom at our voting station to do my duty, then took care of some paperwork so my visa will be in order for Russia.  I still can’t believe I’ll be there in less than a month! I also can’t believe the high will be 9˚ Fahrenheit.  Brr!

Mama brought me a Jonagold to help me sign and date papers for the embassy.  It was hard work!

Apple

When that was all taken care of, we set off in search of a great coat for an even better price.  We found a good one at The North Face, but are going to keep checking around some more.  Who makes your warmest coat?

We broke for lunch at Le Pain Quotidien.  Because it’s a chain restaurant, they’re required to post the calories in all of their dishes.  Their meals are really healthy, but it’s nice to be reminded of what’s inside your food!

Le Pain Quotidien

My mom and I split the seasonal appetizer special: red quinoa with roasted beets and butternut squash.

Red Quinoa with Roasted Beets & Butternut Squash

I only had a couple bites because my entrée was huge!  I ordered the shrimp salad with avocado, mango, and salsa.   It was mighty fine… I ate every scrap.

Shrimp Salad

We were full, but not too full for dessert 😀  We set off in search of frozen yogurt, and bumped into Ada on the way! To celebrate her 19th birthday, she’d just gone on a 13 mile run!
Ada had also just come from The Lite Choice, and told us the flavors were worth the trip.   I got a small cup with Oreos ‘N Cream and Espresso Truffle.

TLC

After our treat, I left my mom and went across town for physical therapy.  I have another appointment tomorrow to see how my therapist thinks I’m doing after my fifteen minutes on the treadmill… I’m very optimistic! In the past month, I have been to four different branches of my gym.  The one I went to yesterday was by far the biggest, but it was also the most confusing! I literally got lost in the locker room. Twice.  What do you like most about your gym?

When I got home Ari had some errands to run so I tagged along.  I brought an apple with cinnamon for the ride, and for the second time in a row, Ari ate half of it! I think I’m rubbing off on him 😀

Cinnamon Apple

Since The Upwelling is going to be on the road for the next month, Ari and I decided to go out to dinner to spend a little time together to get away the craziness of packing.  He had a few things to do before we could go, and my stomach couldn’t wait.  I ripped into Josh’s bag of barbecue-flavored pretzel thins… I’m not a huge fan of bbq-flavored chips, but I could have eaten the whole bag.  I don’t know what it is about flat pretzels, but they really get me going!

BBQ Wing Pretzel Crisps

Ari was craving chicken parm so we went to the diner for dinner.   Now, while I love going there for eggs, something feels a little off about eating there for a meal other than breakfast.  It turns into a more upscale restaurant, but I’m just not a fan of their post-brunch fare.  We still had a very nice time.

All dinner entrées come with soup or salad, and I went with salad.  Hello, onions! (Sorry, boyfriend.)

Side Salad

Nibble at the dinner roll… starting to feel those pretzels!

Dinner Roll

For my main, I ordered the pecan-crusted ahi tuna in a balsamic-fig reduction with Mediterranean orzo and cherry tomatoes.   It was good, but very filling.  Orzo is such a confusing (but delicious!) grain… it looks just like rice but I always forget it’s actually pasta! I also forget how much I like it.  I’m going to see if I can find a whole wheat variety at the grocery store.

I ate about 2/3 of this and boxed the rest up.

Seared Tuna w/ Orzo

For dessert I had a bowl of Ben & Jerry’s Everything But The… ice cream with a warmed up Edgie brownie.  No one will ever accuse me of not knowing how to indulge!

Brownies & Ice Cream

Now that Ari’s gone for a little while, I’m going to be cooking a lot more and eating out a lot less.  We like to eat home-cooked meals when he’s home, too, but we’re on such different schedules that it’s often hard to coordinate dinner.  It’s a goal of mine to cook more frequently when we’re both around… I’m pretty sure that any dish with mushrooms in it is a safe bet 😉

Hope you had a fabulous day. Bonne nuit 🙂

Pumpkin Salads & Ice Cream In Bed

Bonne samedi, mes amis! How are you all? Is your weekend off to a nice start? I know I make it a terrible habit of disappearing on the first day Ari’s back, but I’m here now.

Hmm, so… Thursday’s breakfast was based around YouBar‘s The Best Trail Mix.

YouBar Trail Mix

I plopped half the bag on top of a big mound of pumpkin and an even bigger mound of steel-cut oats, and covered it all with cinnamon and agave nectar.

Steel Cut Oatmeal w/ Pumpkin, Trail Mix & Agave

It felt quite festive.

Steel Cut Oatmeal w/ Pumpkin, Trail Mix & Agave 2

This was the morning that I had my bone density test (the results of which were called in to my orthopedist… who did not return my call and share the findings with me before the weekend but that’s okay).  I had an apple when I got out of the hospital…

Apple

… came home, read InStyle took care of some chores, and went back to sleep for a few hours.  When I woke up, so did a hungry beast. I was inspired by the previous day’s salad dressing adventures, so I played around in the kitchen a little bit.

Pumpkin Vinaigrette

Behold: Pumpkin- Miso Vinaigrette!

Pumpkin Miso Vinaigrette

Pumpkin- Miso Vinaigrette

Serves 1

  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin purée
  • 1 teaspoon white miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • sprinkle of nutmeg
  • squirt of fresh lemon juice

This was delicious. I vow to never have a boring salad again!

Pumpkin Miso Salad

Into the salad itself went:

  • 1/3 block tempeh
  • 1 apple
  • red onion
  • carrots
  • red chard
  • pumpkin-miso dressing

I followed it up with a cup of Trader Joe’s Organic Greek Nonfat Vanilla Yogurt.

Lunch

After a few hours of job searching, I snacked on a piece of Pumpkin-Banana-Date Tea Loaf with peanut butter and raspberry jam.

Pumpkin-Banana-Date Tea Loaf

Other than walking and cleaning, I have done almost nothing physical in almost two weeks.  It’s slowly driving me crazy.  Emily alerted me to these workout videos you can watch instantly on Netflix (if you have an account), which is great. Unfortunately, my will power is not.  I did about 10 minutes of this yoga class, then made dinner and went to the airport to pick Ari up.  Blegh.

I’m going to wager that my dinner is not going to ignite any food jealousy.   I had no idea what I wanted for dinner except that I had to have an Ezekiel English muffinOn one half I had a TJ’s Masala Burger with mustard, on the other egg whites with salt, pepper & ketchup. Boring, but got the job done.

English Muffin Sandwiches

We found the band at the airport, piled all the gear in the car and squeezed in like sardines.  Everyone was a little jet-lagged, so we just watched a short movie and In Treatment.  While doing so, I had another piece of Pumpkin-Banana-Date Tea Loaf with almond butter and jam and a small glass of Merlot.

Pumpkin-Banana-Date Tea Loaf

We slept in a bit yesterday, although I woke up a good hour before the boy.  This is usually the case even when he hasn’t just come back from a tour in Europe.  No matter! I made myself a bowl of brown oatmeal: steel-cut oats with 1/2 banana, cinnamon, brown sugar and peanut butter.

Brown Oats

By the time Ari woke up and decided he wanted chicken parm for breakfast, I was ready for lunch.  I made a salad that was almost a repeat of the day before’s, but why mess with a good thing?

Pumpkin-Miso Avocado Salad

In the mix:

  • red chard
  • carrots
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/3 brick tempeh
  • 1 pear
  • red onions
  • pumpkin-miso dressing

I also had a cup of Trader Joe’s Organic Nonfat Honey Greek Yogurt.

TJ's Organic Nonfat Honey Greek Yogurt

We went into the city and took care of a bunch of errands, including chopping what Erin refers to as Ari’s “alterna-hair.” We stopped by my old restaurant for a glass of wine before going to dinner at Friend House, one of Ari’s favorite sushi restaurants.  Something happened to my camera and it would only take really blurry (and incredibly frustrating) photos.

I ordered the sashimi entrée… I promise that’s what’s in the picture!

Friend House Sashimi

It came with miso soup.

Miso Soup

We went down to the Lower East Side for some Upwelling work, got caught in the rain, and practically ran all the way home.  After showering away the acid rain, we settled in for the night with our cartons of Ben & Jerry.

Ice Cream In Bed

I went for Light Phish Food (but demanded asked nicely for the peanut butter cups in Ari’s Everything But The…), and did my best to put it down after I plowed through 1/4 of the carton.  I guess I have a little bit of will-power.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Curly Girls

Good afternoon, ladies and gents! How is your Thursday treating you? Mine has been just fine, although my body clock is a little out of whack.  I had a bone density test at 8:30 this morning (won’t find out the results until late today or tomorrow), and although I’d brought my gym bag with me, was so exhausted that I ended up just going home to sleep until 12:30!  If I had a dollar for every time I’ve done this….

Yesterday I woke up and stumbled to the kitchen to make breakfast, only to discover that I’d completely decimated my supply of rolled oats! Good gracious, what’s a girl to do?  Make a big batch of steel-cut oatmeal instead!

Steel Cut Oats

I used four cups of water, 1 cup of steel cut oats, 1 sliced banana and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. While the oats cooked, I drank some coffee and mailed my Netflix to distract my grumbling tum.  When the oats were ready, I portioned out a serving for myself and put the remaining three servings in the fridge.  Three breakfasts I won’t have to worry about later!

Oats for the Week

In college, usually on a Sunday, I’d make big batches of things like oatmeal and rice to enjoy later in the week. Sure, it takes a little longer than microwaving your breakfast one morning, but saves time in the long run and tastes a lot better.

For my bowl, I diced up a not-quite-ripe pear and microwaved it for 90 seconds.  This softened the pear right up, and released some of its natural fruit syrups.  Sometimes fruit is enough of a sweetener on its own, but yesterday I needed a bit more.  I added a little brown sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts to make my breakfast a little more interesting.

Pear Walnut Oatmeal

The rest of the morning was spent applying for jobs.  Unfortunately the entire city seems desperate for an “assistant” position, but I must press on! I think I need a really tall, straight-back chair.  It’s so easy to just hunch over the desk, and sometimes I catch myself and notice my posture and I am literally almost lying on the table. Terrible! Erin helped me with this about six months ago, but I really need to be better about it.

Finally I broke for lunch to bring the feeling back to my legs and back.  I’d read Diana’s (then) most recent post, which looked fabulous, and decided to give Gena’s Maple Cinnamon Vinaigrette a try.

Agave Cinnamon Vinaigrette

I quartered the recipe to make just enough for my lunch.  I didn’t have any maple syrup, so I substituted raw agave nectar instead.  I added a little fresh lemon juice as well.

Agave Cinnamon Vinaigrette 2

Each recipe of Gena‘s that I’ve tried has been mighty fine, and this was no different.  It was really good, and turned what would have been an ordinary salad into something unique and special.  The salad itself was almost worthy of Raw Wednesday… while tempeh was traditionally prepared raw, I’m not sure that’s still the case in all commercially prepared varieties.

Salad Ingredients

In the mix:

  • collard greens (local)
  • red chard (local)
  • 1/3 block TJ’s 3 Grain Tempeh
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 kiwi— a reader asked if I eat the skin of kiwis.  I do! I didn’t used to, but tried on a whim this summer.  The skin is thin, and really doesn’t change the taste of the fruit.  However, when possible I buy organic kiwis. I try to go organic whenever I’m going to eat the outside of a fruit or vegetable.  Obviously, this isn’t always possible for financial reasons.
  • 2 carrots
  • Agave Cinnamon Dressing

I decided to make my carrots a little less “rebellious”, and peeled them with the asparagus (or spargel) peeler I received free in Berlin at the Spargelfest Spargelfest!

Spargel Carrot

This salad was perfect.  Good ingredients and quality dressing really do make all the difference.

Agave Cinnamon Salad

I had a glass of red with lunch.

POM Pomegranate Kiwi

Juuuuust kidding… although I wouldn’t be opposed! No, this was POM‘s new Pomegranate Kiwi juice, that the company sent me a few weeks ago to try out.

POM Pomegranate Kiwi 2

This was a lot sweeter than the straight pomegranate variety.  It tastes a bit like fruit cocktail, but I really liked it! This is also 100% juice, which I like.  Don’t you hate when you buy “juice” only to get home and see that there’s actually very little fruit in there at all?

After finishing up my job search for the day, I laced up my sneaks and headed to the gym.  These are the new shoes I got… they’re the same model as my old pair (Asics Gel Kayanos), but I asked for pink instead of read this time. I’m not really a “pink” girl, but I don’t even remember the last time I wore pink sneakers!  Probably my pair of butterfly light-up L.A. Gears. Remember those?

Asics Gel Kayanos

I biked for 30 minutes at the gym while reading my book.  The stationary bike is not the most exciting thing, but I just need to get myself through 30 minutes.  I didn’t like the treadmill, either! There’s nothing wrong with making the most of things, from time to time.

After showering, I headed over to Curly’s Vegetarian to meet Lauryn for an early dinner.   I can’t believe I’d never been here before! It’s right near where I used to work, and has so many options.  Lauryn and I sat and stared at the menu for a good long while before finally deciding on what we wanted… everything looked delicious, from their Mexican fare to their “Public School Lunch” (mac & cheese with panko).  We both ordered the Dragon Bowl Q, a special salad with mixed greens, quinoa, fake chicken, black beans, mango, tomatoes, avocado, jalepeño, corn chips, vegan parmesan… with each dive of our forks, we discovered a new ingredient.  I asked for the carrot ginger and mango poppy dressings on the side, but it was such a loaded salad that I really didn’t need any extra.

Curly's Dragon Q

It was massive.  I didn’t really eat the corn chips because I got so full!   While we ate, we made art.  Lauryn’s clearly the more talented one (on the left)… see how coy her chick looks?

Chicken Art

All of their drinks and desserts sounded amazing (Mexican hot chocolate, peanut butter bomb), but we decided to save our money and have a treat at home.  We did, however, go to Trader Joe’s to get some essentials.  I left the store having spent the lowest amount I’ve ever spent there ($19.79!), and won’t be needing any yogurt or pumpkin anytime soon!  I need to go shopping with this girl all the time.

TJ's haul

When I got home, I caught up on Gossip Girl while munching on a slice of banana-pumpkin-date tea loaf with almond butter and dark chocolate.

Pumpkin/Banana/Date Loaf w/ almond butter & chocolate

Well, back to the grind.  I’ve got to send a few more applications out, then clean up a little because Ari is coming home tonight!

See ya later, alligators.

This Sedentary Life

Hey there, chickadees.  It’s 2:40 on a Wednesday, so for all you working lads and lasses, your week is more than halfway done! I hope it’s been a good one.   As for myself, I’ve spent the past few days with my fingers fused to the keyboard, searching for any and every job post.  My boss forwarded me this article yesterday… talk about depressing!  I’m still optimistic, and feel like there is always something somewhere, even if it’s not exactly what I’m looking for.  There is hope!

Yesterday I got up on the very early side to finish some reading and writing for my internship.  I caffeinated myself and prepared this lovely (if not very random) breakfast.

Yogurt Muffin Mess

In the mix:

  • Stonyfield Farms organic fat free plain yogurt
  • Trader Joe’s Mangolicious mango/berry blend, warmed
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1/2 Silver Moon pumpkin muffin, smeared with peanut butter

On Tuesdays when I intern at the office, there’s usually only an hour or two of work for me to do.  When there, I file, run errands, and read manuscripts; when I’m at home, I read and write in the comfort of my bed.  Yesterday there were a few outdoor things to do; I always enjoy a trip outside to stretch my legs and a chance to re-start my energy with a snack.  On one such occasion, I snacked on a Great Date w/ Chocolate YouBar.

Great Dates w/ Chocolate YouBar

I really liked this bar! I will write up a full product review once I have tried all of the samples I was given, but should you decide to make a purchase at YouBar in the meantime, enter the code “Lilveggiepatch” at checkout for a 5% discount.

At noon, right as I was leaving the office, I got a call from an orthopedist’s office letting me know I had gotten a last-minute appointment with the doctor to figure out just what’s going on with my knee.  I had just enough time to pick up a salad at Ready To Eat, an upscale takeaway deli near work.  I picked up a curried shrimp salad, which came with mixed greens, avocado, orange, tomato, and lemon. It was on the pricey side ($9.95) considering I hadn’t planned on buying a meal (had to cancel a lunch date with my mom for the appointment), but the salad was really big and very filling.

Ready To Eat Shrimp Curry Salad

In what’s becoming true LVP-style, I inhaled my lunch on a bench in the subway in less than ten minutes.  Sadly, in my frenzy to eat and make my appointment on time, my poor tomato flipped out of the container and onto the ground. The 5-second rule does not apply in NYC public transit, sorry.  It was a good thing I took the time to sit and eat, however, because I bumped into a good friend I hadn’t seen in an embarrassingly long time, and who now lives in California!  It was a very nice surprise, but we were both in a hurry and had to rush off.

I got to the hospital an hour before my appointment to take X-Rays.

Hospital for Special Surgery

The X-Ray technician was great. Each time she moved me or took a photo, she explained exactly what she was doing and why.  Here is the X-Ray of my right knee:

Knee X-Ray

Unfortunately, the appointment with the doctor himself left me frustrated, confused, and really irritated.  He did not go over the X-Rays at all, explain what he was doing as he manipulated my leg, and only gave me information when I asked him directly.  Do I have a sprained mensicus? No. I was told that I did… is it possible that it healed itself already? No.  My knee-cap clicked a bit just now… is that normal? You have a little arthritis.   He did say that it was caused my overdoing it, and that low calcium + vitamin D is probably part of the culprit.  I should take Citrical supplements, and get a bone density scan. (I used to take a massive quantity of vitamins every morning, but didn’t want to spend the money re-stocking when I ran out.)

He left the room about two minutes later, and still didn’t know what I could and could not do.  When can I run? Can I strength train? What, if anything, should I do at the gym? Arthritis?! I got dressed and found him outside in the hallway, and, desperate for one more minute of his time, asked if I had arthritis.  He then examined me in the middle of the hallway, lifting the back of my shirt up all the way and having me bend completely over, as he stood very close to me and ran his fingers along my spine. I don’t think I need to elaborate on what that looked like from the side.  I’m sure the doctor wasn’t trying to do anything inappropriate and didn’t think that I might be a little uncomfortable in front of other patients with my shirt up, but I was really uncomfortable.  Uncomfortable, and angry that the doctor hadn’t made sure that I understood what was wrong with me, and how I could fix it without hurting myself again.  Not knowing how to improve is so frustrating.  I think I’m overly sensitive about it because running was a reliable way for me to structure my day now that I don’t have a job, and now I just feel like I’m floating in limbo.

On the way out of the office, I scheduled a bone density test for Thursday at 8:30 AM.  I also received a prescription for physical therapy, although the prescription is for work on my left knee, and not my right. (Mistakes can happen, and luckily this isn’t a serious one… I have a friend who had the wrong side of his body operated on a few years ago.) I talked to my dad, near tears, right after I left the doctor’s office.  He said this is usually how “network doctors” (doctors who are covered by insurance) work, because they have so many patients to see each day.  I understand that, but I also wanted some answers.  He called the office and asked them to call me back… the doctor’s assistant actually just called (a day later) as I was typing this post.  She didn’t know much else, except that I have a “knee sprain.”  I asked about the arthritis, and she said that, from the X-Ray, I don’t have it. I should only use the recumbent bike at the gym, and no strength training.   So now, I really don’t know what to think.  The doctor basically told me the exact opposite things that the physical therapist did last week.  I need to start seeing the physical therapist so I can gradually start running again, but I haven’t been able to get their office on the phone.

It isn’t news that doctors are overstretched and, unless they’re privately hired, don’t have time to work closely with patients.  I’m lucky to not have really needed hospital or serious doctor care until recently, and I need to learn to be patient with “the system.”  That patience needs to be transferred to my job search as well…. Om.

When I got home from the hospital yesterday, I was pretty hungry and made a yogurt bowl with a microwaved apple, cinnamon and granola.

Yogurt Bowl

After spending a couple hours decompressing, I set to work on a new baking project.  Since high school, cooking and baking has always been a way for me to relax and take a break from more stressful things like school work and job searching.  Even though the finished product might not be “perfect”, it’s finished, and I can feel good about that.  So, without further ado, I give you…

The Virtually Fat-Free* & Vegan Banana-Pumpkin-Date Tea Loaf! (And don’t let the name scare you off… it tastes pretty darn good.)

*Bananas have a very small amount of fat.

Adapted from Veganomicon‘s Lower-Fat Banana Bread.

Fat Free Pumpkin/Banana/ Date Tea Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 3 small ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin pie mix
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 crushed cloves, or 1/8 teaspoon ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup chopped dates (about 7 medjools)

Preheat the oven to 350˚ and lightly grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until no large chunks remain.  Add molasses, applesauce, and pumpkin pie mix and stir.  Mix in half of the flour, spices, and salt. Stir in the remaining flour until no clumps remain.  Fold in chopped dates.

Pour batter into pan.

Fat Free Pumpkin/Banana/ Date Tea Loaf 1

It will be very thick.

Fat Free Pumpkin/Banana/ Date Tea Loaf 2

Bake on middle rack for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted through the center comes out clean.  Cool. It will be dense, but adorable.

Fat Free Pumpkin/Banana/ Date Tea Loaf 3

While the bread cooled, I made a quick and easy dinner that was a tribute to my college days of yore.

College Mac & Cheese

I mixed a cooked sweet potato and a can of tuna into a packet of Annie’s Mac & Cheese. I always enjoy Annie’s with a little more cheeze than the packet comes with, so I added a scoop of nooch as well.  A sprinkle of chili flakes made it the perfect meal, taking me right back to long days procrastinating writing papers.

Mac & Cheese w/ tuna, sweet potato & nutritional yeast

For dessert, I had two small slices of fresh low fat vegan banana-pumpkin-date tea cake, one plain and one with almond butter and raspberry jam.  It’s moist, soft, and perfectly sweet.  Possibly not the best idea to bake a whole loaf of bread when most of your roommates are on vacation, but…

Pumpkin/Banana/ Date Tea Loaf

I tried to hold out for as long as possible, but eventually went back for another plain slice.  What can I say? Blame Lexi Gray.

Pumpkin/Banana/ Date Tea Loaf 1 Pumpkin/Banana/ Date Tea Loaf 2

Alright, time to get a-movin’.  If the recumbent bike is all I can use, I’m off to bike-a-way.