Tag Archives: cheese

Keeping It Classy

Back again from a very short but lovely visit with Ari’s family in Maryland.   Of course I wish Ari could have been there himself, but his parents are warm, welcoming, and put me completely at ease.

As soon as I was picked up from the bus stop we drove to one of their favorite Italian restaurants for dinner.  We split an order of fresh bruschetta (crusty bread topped withtomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and what Ilana claims to be the best tomato sauce on earth).

I ordered freshly-caught Rock Fish from the Chesapeake Bay (with lemon and olive oil sauce on the side)…

… and a side order of linguine marinara.

This was the same restaurant we came to two years ago, when I was meeting Ari’s family for the first time.  Time flies!  After dinner, the girls went to see New Moon (the movie wasn’t quite Ari’s dad’s style).  I’ve only read the first two Twilight books, saw the first movie, and did not have high hopes for this one.  But… I really liked it!  My friends who have read all four books say that Book 2 is the weakest, but I really think Stephanie Meyer nailed Bella’s heartbreak in both the book and the movie.

This morning we all got up early, had breakfast, and got ready for a bridal shower.  The food spread was pretty grand.  We had Beth’s Famous Zucchini-Wrapped Salmon (I helped with the zucchini and dill garnish):

Three different kinds of quiche (spinach, mushroom & cheese), croissants, salad, pasta salad, cheese, crackers, hummus

I ate my fill and then some more.

We had a chocolate fountain with fruit, marshmallows, and pretzels for dipping…

And did I metnion there were Jello shots?

To keep things classy, we also had hot apple cider (warmed in a crock pot) spiked with Goldschlager.

This was my first bridal shower, and it was a lot of fun! I’m sure there will be many more to come.

I ate leftovers on the bus ride back to New York, and feel like I haven’t stopped eating since before the holidays!  It’s kind of nice, since these were all meals I spent with people I love and are thankful for even when it’s not a holiday.  The trip home was very productive… thanks to my good friend Mr. Dramamine, I read Elements of Style in its entirety and moved on to The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society. Nothing really signals that the holidays have arrived like having the time to curl up with a good book.  What’s the best thing you’ve read recently?

As some of you know, I’m headed off to Russia on Monday to spend 10 days with my dad and Sarah.  While I’m gone, are there any burning questions you have about Russian culture, history or food that you’d like me to try to investigate? I’m at your service! Sarah’s informed me that while there will probably be fish available at every restaurant, strictly vegetarian options will be harder to come by.  I’ll let you know how I fare.

Hope your week is off to a great start!

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 🙂

Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato Leek Soup

First things first (and I might get in trouble for this later)… HAPPY BIRTHDAY ARI! Feel free to send him a little hello 🙂 He’s not a big “birthday person,” but I still wish we were together.  When he gets back from tour, though, I’m going to make him a mighty fine cake!  The first Upwelling fan’s tattoo has surfaced… what’s the farthest you have  gone (or would go)  for a band, artist, writer, _____ you love?

Last night, once again, hunger pangs dragged me from bed.  I grabbed an apple and snuggled back under the covers.

I think it’s because I’ve been eating dinner earlier than I’m used to… growing up, we ate dinner between 8 and 9, but now when I cook for myself, I eat around 7. Interesting!

This morning I got up early to finish some work for my internship, and by the time I was ready for breakfast I’d worked up quite the appetite.  I made my first batch of oatmeal in a couple weeks, and it did not disappoint.

I microwaved 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup oats, pumpkin and frozen berries all together at the same time. Saves time, and I didn’t have to wash an extra dish.  I topped the dish with brown sugar and a scoop of flaxy peanut butter.

Things were a little busier at the office today, and before I knew it it was time to meet my mom for lunch.  We went to AOC, a cute French bistro in the West Village.

We had some buttered bread while we waited for our orders to arrive.

I ordered the Salade Nordique, which was not only beautifully presented…

…but it was fully loaded with delicious ingredients!  Poached salmon, smoked salmon, jumbo lump crab meat, a poached egg with grainy mustard, grapefruit, mixed greens, and tomatoes.

It was delicious.  My favorite bites were forkfuls of smoked salmon-wrapped grapefruit… I really have to try this at home.   I didn’t come close to finishing the salad, and took a lot of the salmon home.  It’ll make a delicious lunch tomorrow!

We each drank a cup of coffee, then went to The Lite Choice for dessert.   I got a small cup of frozen yogurt with half Fluffernutter, half Dark Chocolate Truffle.

My mom went back to work, and I went home to get some things done.  I went for a 2 miles run as my training schedule directed, then did some ab work and played around on the foam roller.  Sweet pain.

I wanted to make something fast, easy, delicious, and comforting for dinner, and came up with a new twist on an old favorite.  It’s low in fat, high in flavor and smells like heaven.

Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato Leek Soup

Serves 1-2

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized sweet potato, peeled & chopped
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch ginger, minced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (I made my own using Better Than Bouillon)
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tsp curry
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • parsley (optional)

Heat oil over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are near-transparent,  about 5 minutes.  Add ginger and cook 1 minute more, being careful not to let the ingredients burn.

Add leeks, potato, stock & bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf.

Transfer to a food processor or blender and pulse until soup reaches desired texture.  I prefer mine smooth, but you can easily leave a few chunks of potato.

Add spices and pulse until cloves are ground and incorporated.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with parsley and additional spices, if desired.

Serve and enjoy!

I enjoyed a bowl of soup with a toasted Ezekiel English muffin.  One half had almond butter and raspberry jam, the other had melted cheddar and Bragg’s.

It was a perfect dinner for one, followed by the perfect dessert: dried fruit stuffed with roasted almonds and dark chocolate chips. Natural candy, if you will.   I have a little trouble with portion control when I eat these… they’re so good that I can’t help going back into the kitchen to make more!

I’m hoping to get to bed early so I’m nice and fresh for tomorrow.  What was the best part of your day?

A “Quick Meal”- Themed Day

Good evening, Upper East Siders!  How are you? I’m taking a little work break to blog and catch up on my Gossip.

Last night, after we got back from the wedding, I hunkered down to do some reading and prepare for my interviews.  All of that brain stimulation must have shot my metabolism into overdrive, because only a couples hours after dinner,  my tum was a-grumblin’ something fierce! I thought I might just be thirsty, but that didn’t seem to be it.  Finally, I put down my book and headed into the kitchen to make a bowl of Kashi GoLean and Smart Start. Problem solved!

This morning, I woke up bright and early to see Ari off.  As I mentioned, he’s going Vigilante through December, and had to leave at 7:30 this morning.  I tried to go back to sleep, but my mind was already up and ready to go.  I had to be at physical therapy at 10 anyway, so I just got up and made breakfast.

Taking Jess‘s advice, I heated up half of a Trader Joe’s Berry Mango Bran Muffin, crumbled it up, and tossed in on top of 0% Fage with some warmed frozen berries and a scoop of flaxy PB.  I really like this peanut butter, by the way.   It’s both crackly and crunchy and adds great texture!

Quite the mess!

My therapy session went well… I still have a lot of tightness in pretty much each muscle in my legs, so I have to keep working on that.  Repeat after me: yoga, rolling and stretching, okay!  When I got back, I briefly chatted with the guest who is staying with us, made myself an apple-cinnamon snack, and retreated to my room to be interviewed (via phone) with the HR department for the company I’m interviewing with.

It shaped up to be one of those days where I was constantly hungry, so I made something as soon as the clock showed that it was even remotely close to lunchtime.  Ellie reminded me yesterday about the beauty of the crack wrap, so I made one with a whole wheat wrap, three-layer hummus, and a slice of Jarlsberg cheese.

I ate it with half a can of Progresso’s Fat Free Lentil soup.   This isn’t the tastiest of the canned variety, but I had a hankering for soup.  I’ll definitely be making my own in the near future!

Finished up the meal with a piece of salt water taffy for a sweet end.

I’ve been searching in vain for the seasonal Celestial Seasonings teas (like Sugar Cookie and Gingerbread)… any New Yorkers know where I can track it down?  I settled on a cup of Sweet Coconut Thai Chai, which was a good substitute…

…but it knocked me right out!  Ari caught me snoozing at 5PM when he woke me up with a phone call.  Whoops! I snacked on some carrots to perk me back up…

… then did Yoga Download‘s Hip Opening Flow #2.  I have trouble practicing yoga for more than 20 minutes when I’m not in class… does anyone have tips for staying in the moment? Turning off my phone would probably be a good start!

I heated up some leftover Coconut Barley Pilaf and made a quick salad with kale, broccoli slaw, grape tomatoes, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar.

Honestly, as much as I love my fancy salad dressings, I could probably make a sesame vinaigrette every night and be happy.  It’s simple, but so delicious.  I don’t even use measurements or mix anything together… the vinegar and oil just get drizzled on.

I made another quick dessert, starting with a tri-flavored chocolate sauce using Pure Dark cardamom chocolate, semisweet and bittersweet chocolate chips.

I added a few drops of water, microwaved the bowl for 35 seconds, then mixed in some Brown Sugar ice cream.

And thus concludes another day’s passing without having spent a single extra dollar on food.  I’m going to have to buy some fresh produce soon, as we’re running low on fruit and vegetables, but otherwise the kitchen is pretty stocked.  It’s a satisfying feeling.

Back to work… it’s going to be a late night.  Bonne nuit 🙂

Sweet Coconut Nights

So sorry to have disappeared last night! I was so enraptured with Betty White in The Proposal that before I knew it, it was time for bed.   I don’t usually like doing massive, two-day catch-up posts, but if I don’t, I’ll be living in the past for a while and we can’t have that.

 

My new peanut butter was calling my name from the pantry.

Peanut Butter w/ Flax

How could I incorporate it into my breakfast?

PB w/ Flax

I decided to make eggs-in-a-basket (or “toad-in-the-hole”, as my grandmother calls it) which I’ve seen all over the blogs recently.  I used Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin bread and cut a hole in the middle with my water bottle.  The “hole” was the perfect size to to test the peanut butter out on.

PB w/ Flax on bread

I melted a slice of Jarlsberg cheese on another piece of bread, and put a little pumpkin butter on top of the flax hole.

Toad In The Hole

I love getting as many tastes as possible out of a meal!

After waiting a couple hours to digest, I laced up my sneakers, stretched, loaded my ipod with a new playlist (thanks to Maya for turning me on to this site) and hit the pavement.  This was my third run in a month, and I wanted to make it count.  I ran slowly but easily, and before I knew it I was bake at home with 4.5 miles under my belt.  I wasn’t even out of breath!  To be honest, I was worried I would have lost my stamina and wouldn’t even be able to make it half that far.  This is a good sign 🙂

I went into the city to meet my mom at Macy’s to go coat shopping.  It was exhausting.  Although I’d brought kale chips and an apple, we didn’t end up eating until 3:30.

Kale Chips

Apple

If there’s one thing I know about my mother’s side of the family, it’s that we get c-r-a-n-k-y when we get hungry.  Au Bon Pain was the only option for us at Macy’s (the rest of the fast food joints didn’t have any vegetarian options), and I quickly made a salad with spinach, artichoke hearts, green beans, roasted red peppers, tuna and Thai peanut dressing.

Au Bon Pain salad

The only memorable aspect of this salad was how quickly I ate it.  My mom got us a bag of mini chocolate chip cookies, and I had one somewhere in the lingerie department while searching for Hollywood Tape.

Au Bon Pain cookies

Three stores and one successful purchase later, we fond ourselves sitting at the old wood bar in DiFiore Marquet.  This was only my second time coming here, but it’s one of my favorite spots in the city.  It’s charming and quirky, quiet, inexpensive, and the staff is so knowledgeable about their wine list.

DiFiore Marquet wine list

Last time we went, I tried my first glass of Vouvray.  This time, I went for the Alsatian Pinot Gris (I get this whenever I see it on a menu), and my mom got the Torrontes, which is a fruity white similar to a Pinot Grigio.

The Pinot Gris is on the left, the Torrontes on the right.

DiFiore Marquet wine

On our way home, we made a pit stop at The Donut Pub.

The Donut Pub

My mom and George both think these are the best donuts in the city.

The Donut Pub

My mom and I did a taste-test with a glazed and a sugar ring (I had tiny bites of each); glazed won.  I got a marble cake donut hole for myself.

Donut Hole

I don’t even remember the last time I had a donut!  Oh wait… it was almost exactly a year ago!

We finally did get home, where we met my dad for a takeout pasta dinner from La Parmigiana in Southampton.  We started with salad… I thought all “Italian” dressings would taste like this when I was younger, and was sadly disappointed when I learned this was not the case.

Parmigiana Salad

Their pasta is hard to beat.  I had a plate with half linguine with clams, half linguine with broccoli rabe and sundried tomatoes.   I gobbled up all of the former, but had had my fill and didn’t quite finish the broccoli rabe pasta.

Parmigiana pasta

My mom and I split a Criterion apple that my parents picked last weekend…

Criterion Apple

… and, later, I had three chocolate snowballs.  They were even better the second day!

Chocolate Snowballs

I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping recently… rather I normally have a hard time falling asleep, but have been enjoying a nice respite from that and have been nodding off quite easily.  No sleep aids required!  The last few nights, however, it’s been hard for me to fall and stay asleep, so that by the time morning comes around it just seems like a mean joke.  Needless to say, my breakfasts have had to be pretty darn good to make up for it.

These Berry Mango bran muffins from Trader Joe’s came recommended by both Lauryn and Caroline, and I knew I had to try them.  I’m not a huge muffin lover, but bran is a whole ‘nother story.  Love it!

TJ's Berry Bran Muffins

I popped half a muffin in the oven to warm it up, and while it was toasting got out the container of almond butter my parents had picked up for me at the Co-Op.

Co-Op Almond Butter

Beat that, Maranatha!

Co-Op Almond Butter 2

I slathered some on my muffin, and used the nut-buttery-spoon to scoop my banana/cinnamon/honey-filled Oikos.  How’s that for a complete breakfast?

Muffin & Yogurt breakfast

My physical therapy appointment was scheduled for 11, and although I left with plenty of time to spare, my subway line is all messed up and is skipping my stop due to track work.  So I had to ride all the way to the end of the line and back down again, and by the time I got off at the appropriate stop only had five minutes to spare.  I ran all the way there with a shoddy umbrella, dodging raindrops and praying my waterlogged Chucks wouldn’t trip me up.  I didn’t fall, but was still five minutes late.  Not a problem… I still got quite the workout in.

My left thigh was been really sore for the past few days… I don’t know if it’s because of the exercises I’ve been doing or just freak tightness, but my therapist worked it out for a good ten minutes.  I also did some calf, core and quad work on the Proform (which I am really feeling today!), then got iced down and strapped with electrodes.  Who knew therapy could be so fun?

I packed my lunch to take with me to eat in transit:

Lunch Salad

In the mix:

  • mixed greens
  • grape tomatoes
  • frozen pineapple
  • broccoli slaw
  • Dr. Praeger’s California veggie burger (like other Dr. P. burgers, this is very mushy and doesn’t have a real “burger” texture. I really like the taste and chunks of veggies, though)
  • kale chip “dressing”/hummus

Because it was cold and rainy out, there wasn’t really anywhere to sit and enjoy a leisurely lunch.  So I ate LVP-style: standing up and shoveling food into my mouth in the middle of the sidewalk.

Eating On The Go

Also had a Pink Lady apple… wonder if there is a T-Bird variety apple as well?

Pink Lady

After I finished my dignified lunch, I walked across town and went up to meet Greg at Starbucks.  I got the coupon in the mail for my free birthday drink (if you have a Starbucks card, register it!), which I used for a Grande Skim Dirty Hippie (Chai with two shots of espresso).

Dirty Hippie

Two sample trays came by while we were chatting: Peppermint Mocha and Crème Brulée.

Peppermint Mocha Crème Brulée

I remember when I used to get so excited for Peppermint Mocha-season… now I found this – and the crème brulée- way too sweet.  The only sweet coffee drinks I like are Chai lattes and the occasional Mocha or Frappuccino; I tend to stick to lightly sweetened cappuccinos and black coffee.

The rest of the afternoon was spent running errands (found the perfect pair of jeans on sale).  I was in four different areas of the city in under four hours, and let me tell you: it gives you an appetite! It was the kind of day where I felt hungry all the time.   I dug into my bag and found this Tropical Fruit Grain-Ola bar that Bear Naked sent me as a sample and ate it on the subway.

Bear Naked Tropical Fruit Grain-Ola Bar

Bear Naked Tropical Fruit Grain-Ola Bar Nutrition

Bear Naked Tropical Fruit Grain-Ola Bar Ingredients

Review: This was way too sweet for me, and the ingredients list (and 18g of sugars) explains it.  Why does the fruit need to be dried with sugar on top of the additional tapioca syrup, honey and maple syrup that gets thrown into the mix? It was also very, very greasy.

Would I buy this? Thanks, but no thanks.

When I got home, I started making this recipe for Coconut Barley Pilaf.

Coconut Barley Pilaf with Shrimp & Corn

My dad had made it a few weeks ago and recommended it to me, so I decided to give it a go.  I substituted shrimp for chicken, light coconut milk for regular, and chili flakes for jalepeño.

Coconut Barley Pilaf with Shrimp & Corn 2

I didn’t know how many people would be around for dinner so I made the full recipe… we’ll just have a lot of leftovers!

Coconut Barley Pilaf with Shrimp & Corn 3

I really liked this. The sweet barley, salty cashews, chewy shrimp and fresh mint were in such harmony!  I would definitely make this again (although I think I can get another 3 meals out of this batch).  Ari didn’t like it as much… he prefers chickpeas and mushrooms.

We also had some Sauvignon Blanc…

Sauvignon Blanc

… and I finished off the snowballs.  Nom.

snowballs

We’re off to Connecticut for a wedding this weekend.  What are your plans?

Lenny-the-Cuisinart Makes His Kitchen Debut

Good evening, folks!  Better get cracking on this post or it’ll be morning before I’m done!  As the title suggests, I finally took my food processor out of the box.  It’s so sleek and shiny… I kind of just want to snuggle with it in bed.  But… that’s a story for a different blog 😉

Yesterday I got up very early to finish some work before going into my internship.   I drank a pot of coffee, opened my eyes a little wider, and finally started feeling my appetite.  I made a yogurt bowl with vanilla Oikos, a Gala apple and granola.  Hit the spot!

Granola, Apple & Greek Yogurt

There wasn’t a whole lot for me to do at work… I mailed some things, ordered some more things, and read some other things.   As vague as that sounds, I actually really like working there and am learning a lot about the industry!  No experience is bad experience in my book (with a few exceptions).

I got off a couple hours earlier than usual and had some time to kill, so I decided to go next door and get a workout in before meeting my mom for lunch.  I fueled up with half of a (very stale) Chocolate Chip Clif Bar.

Chocolate Chip Clif Bar

Has anyone ever used the Expresso bike at the gym? It looks like a regular stationary bike, but the handlebars move so you can navigate the path that is shown onscreen.  It’s pretty neat, and kept me from getting too bored! I did about 5 miles, then worked on arms and my PT exercises.   I left just in time to meet my mom for lunch.

We went to Café Angelique, a cute café in the West Village.

Café Angelique

I got the Mango & Goat Cheese Salad… it was really good, but there was about a pound of cheese on top!  My mom and I thought about saving the excess and bringing it home in a doggie bag… but I’m not that desperate (yet).

Mango & Goat Cheese Salad

I spread some of the cheese on whole grain toast.

Toast

Lunch left me surprisingly full, and while I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted any frozen yogurt, as soon as I saw the flavors The Lite Choice was serving, I knew they had “LVP” written all over them.   Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Truffle… I was powerless!

The Lite Choice

We finished our treat; my mom went back to work and I walked across town to Trader Joe’s and did a massive grocery shop. I thought my little arms were going to fall off on my walk home!

Trader Joe's Haul

Proteins

TJ's Protein

Fruit & Veggies

TJ's Fruit & Veggies

Dairy, Grains & Miscellaneous

TJ's Dairy, Grains & Miscellaneous

With this haul, I was ready to get in the kitchen! There was a Lovely spirit in the kitchen there with me.  First on the agenda was homemade kale chips!

Kale Chip Ingredients

Except… my farm stand was out of kale.  So I improvised with escarole… a lettuce variety with much thinner leaves than kale. Oh well.

I loaded up the food processor with the dressing’s ingredients.  Look how nice and clean he is!  I think I’ll call him Lenny 🙂

Loaded Food Processor

Blended until almost smooth…

Kale Chips Dressing

I should have halved the recipe, because this made quite a bit of topping.  But I really could have eaten it straight, so I saved half for salads and dipping…

Leftover Kale Chips Dressing

… and put the rest on half a head of escarole before massaging it all in.

Kale Chips

I don’t have a dehydrator, so I followed Mama Pea‘s lead and baked them in the oven at 300 for 40 minutes.  Foil may not have been the best choice, as it was kind of a hassle peeling them off.

Kale Chips & Foil

They were really yummy, though! I think next time I’ll use a bit more lemon juice… I squirted a little on the chips while I snacked.

Kale Chip

Next on the list:  Raw Vegan Dark Chocolate Snowballs!  Again, it wasn’t quite true to Averie’s recipe because this cocoa wasn’t so dark, but no matter.

Chocolate Snowballs Ingredients

This was one of the easiest things I’ve ever made.  My salads take longer to prepare!

Chocolate Snowballs Ingredients 2

I was a little worried that the “batter” was too dry, but stuck it in the freezer as it was.

Chocolate Snowballs Dry

A few hours later, they were ready to be “balled”…

Chocolate Snowballs Frozen

I was so proud of myself! They really look like macaroons!

Chocolate Snowballs

There may have been some nibbling along the way, and some of the mixture left over that will make a fabulous breakfast addition.  Try saying “Chocolate Snowball Oats for me!” ten times.

Dinner was pretty low-maintenance (unlike Blair and Serena, who kept me company)… I had leftover Japanese Cucumber Salad and Tomatoey Spiced Chickpeas.  I added dulse flakes to the cukes this time, which worked a lot better than the nori.

Leftovers

For dessert, I had a strawberry-flavored Oikos and a chocolate snowball.

Greek Chocolate

I love Greek yogurt as you’ve probably noticed… the only problem is that when I stock up, I eat it all so fast that it’s all gone in only a few days!

What recipe have you loved recently? What should I make next with my food processor?