Tag Archives: coffee

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!

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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 🙂

A Wedding In Connecticut

Good evening and happy Sunday!  How was your weekend?  I just got back from Westbrook, Connecticut, where The Upwelling’s former tour manager got married.  The boys were part of the wedding party so they came back from tour and we all went together.

While this is going to be more of a “greatest hits” post, I want to share a new dressing with you: coconut mint.

Coconut Mint Dressing

Coconut Mint Dressing

  • 1/2 tsp shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 small handful fresh mint, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

“Muddle” the mint, coconut and lemon together before adding the rest of the juices.  This releases the flavors and lets them really pop!  I drizzled the dressing over a tempeh/sweet potato/apple/feta salad

Coconut Mint Salad

… but it would make a great marinade for fish, shrimp, or tofu as well.   I’m getting so much mileage out of this bunch of mint!

In the car, I had the healthiest and most delicious “candy bar” imaginable: dried fruit stuffed with roasted almonds and bittersweet chocolate chips. These are so good.

Healthy Candy Bar

Ari bought me a slightly more processed version, but still a favorite nonetheless.  There’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s.

Reese's 1 Reese's 2

When we got to the hotel, I took advantage of the time the groomsmen spent rehearsing to go to the gym.  I ran 3.1 miles (5K), walked another .4, and stretched.  As the Gina always says, no one wants to miss out on the fun, so I try to plan timely activities (like workouts and… ahem… the time I spend getting ready to go out) while everyone else is either sleeping or doing something else.

The bride and groom are both Jewish, and because the rehearsal dinner fell on Friday, we had a traditional Shabbat dinner.  The challah abounded!  Somehow I ended up with three pieces of bread on my plate, but Josh and Ari picked at most of it.

Bread Plate

The entrée choices were Vegetable Risotto with Arugula Pesto or Cappelini Rustica; I wasn’t sure which (if any) option was vegetarian, but figured the risotto was a safer bet.  They both turned out to be meat free, and I loved the risotto! It was very rich, though, so I only ate about half of it.  And the flower.  Which I’m pretty sure wasn’t of the edible variety.  Whoops!

Vegetable Risotto with Arugula Pesto

Strawberry sorbet for dessert…

Strawberry Sorbet

… and a fun-size Cookies ‘n Cream Hershey’s bar.   This is one of those weird LVP-isms; I really don’t like white chocolate, but a couple times a year I get cravings that can only be quenched by this particular bar.  The bride and groom must have known this when they stuffed it in our goodie bag!

White Chocolate

Also in the bag were these personalized M&Ms; they had the wedding date, photo, names and words printed on them.  Very creative!

Wedding M&Ms

We may or may not have gone to a casino late that night (this girl’s first time) to further my blackjack education and lose $5 on the slots.  It was a strange, strange place, I tell ya!  It was HUGE, and the lights are pretty dim and there aren’t any windows so there’s really no way to tell if it’s 4PM or 4AM.  Drinks are free, and you can walk everywhere with them!  People also smoked inside; it’s strange that a few years ago that was the norm everywhere.  The stores were opened past midnight, so Ari and I split a Godiva pumpkin truffle.

Godiva Royale

We got to the hotel really late, and with the exception of Stew, all slept in past noon.  We woke up famished, so we set out in search of brunch.  Where did our journey take us, you ask?  To the Grand Slam at Denny’s. Yes, you read that correctly.

Denny's Grand Slam

The Grand Slam is a magical deal that lets you pick four breakfast items for only $5.99.  For an extra $.49 per item, you can choose from three “premium selections” like yogurt, granola or fruit.   We were all very excited.

Denny's Grand Slam 2

We placed our orders, then  set to work.  When was the last time you colored at an eatery?

Grand Slam Coloring

Ari ordered a festive pot of peppermint tea (which came with an unsolicited squirt of peppermint syrup):

Denny's Peppermint Tea

I drank my coffee black.

Grand Slam Coffee

The food arrived: I ordered (dry) whole wheat pancakes, egg whites, oatmeal and a cup of fruit.

Grand Slam Breakfast: Before

I ate all the fruit and eggs (which were buttery but delicious), half of the pancakes and left all of the oatmeal.  Even had I not been an oatmeal snob, I don’t think anything else would have fit in my stomach.

Grand Slam Breakfast: After

Brunch understandably held me right up through the wedding, and left me with more than enough time to shower, dress (Hollywood Tape did not come through for me as I’d hoped)…

pre-wedding

… and watch three hours worth of Married With Children episodes.

pre-wedding

The ceremony was beautiful, and while it was traditional in some respects, there were some nice personal touches: the groomsmen walked down the aisle to Semi-Charmed Life, the bridesmaids to Bittersweet Symphony, the bride to Do You Realize?, all performed by a string quartet. There may have been some tears in my corner.

At the dinner reception, the guest seated to my right taught me a helpful trick to remembering where your bread and drinks go in relation to your place setting.

Table Setting Trick

Make the “OK” signal with both of your hands.  Your left forms a lower-case “B” (for bread), and the right forms a “D” (for drink).  How handy!

Speaking of bread, this roll was particularly tasty…

Bread

… and where drinks are concerned, I stuck to vodka- sodas.

Vodka Soda

While we were eating our smoked mozzarella and pesto ravioli appetizer, Josh and Ari played an acoustic version of A-Ha’s “Take On Me” for the bride and groom’s first dance. This was really good, but I let it get cold and only had a few bites.

Smoked Mozzarella Ravioli

I didn’t leave a scrap of arugula salad with toasted walnuts, shaved parmesan, and mandarin oranges, however.  The couple next to me thought it was too big, but I would have gladly alleviated them of their portion!  This was my favorite part of the meal.

Arugula Salad

The entree was grilled salmon with mashed potatoes, green beans and carrots. It was good, but I was pretty full by the time this came around and only ate about half of the fish (but all of the veggies!) and gave my taters to Ari.

Wedding Salmon

We danced around on the floor for a bit, but really just enjoyed being with friends and each other.  The band is booked through February with a short break in December, so it was nice to be able to spend the weekend together.

The cake was sliced and brought around: chocolate with strawberry and vanilla buttercream.  I ate about half, then went back out to tear up the rug.

Wedding Cake

Our eyelids started drooping around midnight, and we were asleep by 1.  We had to hustle in the morning to get back to the city, but we had enough time to have a nice brunch with the wedding party.  I had half of a sesame bagel with cream cheese, eggs, fruit (plus some unpictured grapes), and half a slice of French toast. Coffee abounded, as usual.

Wedding Brunch

It was such a nice weekend.  I really cannot express how grateful I am to have been able to spend a weekend- more like a mini-vacation, actually- with people I love.  The next few days will be pretty busy… The Upwelling goes back on tour tomorrow, and I have a couple interviews for potential jobs.   My healthy habits have been slacking a bit, but one month from this morning (Sunday, December 13) is my 15K race.  I’ve updated my training plan, and will stick to it… I went on a 4.5 mile run late this afternoon.

15K training

Regular posting will resume tomorrow.  I hope you had a fabulous weekend, and congratulations to the newlyweds!

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?

Back to the Microwave

Evening, chickadees!  How was the rest of your weekend?  I can’t believe it’s over already… the days are just flying by, and I can’t seem to do a thing about it!

Yesterday, my last day in Minnesota, was quite relaxing.  I slept in a little, then woke up, had some fruit…

Scary Clementine

I did quite a number on those grapes!  Produces isn’t safe when I’m around.

Grapes

We had a 12:30 reservation for brunch at the club, so I didn’t want to fill up too much… but I did caffeinate.

Morning Coffee

I loaded my plate to the brim on round one at the buffet…

Brunch Buffet

In the mix:

  • mixed greens
  • artichokes
  • hearts of palm
  • peppers
  • cottage cheese
  • cherry tomatoes
  • pumpkin seeds
  • cauliflower
  • balsamic vinaigrette
  • seafood salad
  • citrus- marinated mushroom
  • strawberries, cantaloupe & pineapple

The halibut cake (about the size of an orange slice)  called to me on round 2.

Halibut Cake

I took a little bit of everything for dessert: mini magic & fudge bars, the bottom of a piece of pumpkin cake, and fresh berries.

Dessert Plate

I sipped on a cup of Darjeeling tea throughout the meal…

Darjeeling Tea

Don’t silk tea sachets feel so fancy? I love it!

Tea Sachet

With good reason, brunch held me over for hours.  We went straight to the airport from the club, with just enough time to check in and board.  I snacked on Pink Lady apple on the plane, more out of boredom than hunger.  (Hopefully I’ll finish this book before the year is out… it’s been long enough!)

Apple

When I got home, I made something quick and easy (although perhaps not as aesthetically pleasing as one might hope): Annie’s Mac & Cheese with a Morningstar Farms Pizza Burger, one small sweet potato, chili flakes and a scoop of nutritional yeast.  The entire thing was made in the microwave! Unfortunately, not all of my meals can be like the ones I ate over the weekend.  If only!

Annie's Mac & Cheese

As per Sunday tradition, I ate my dinner while catching up on Thursday’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

Dinner w/ Grey's

I wanted something sweet (because I hadn’t quite had my fill already 😉 ) so I microwaved a banana for 90 seconds and topped it with Pure Dark cardamom chocolate, cinnamon, and agave nectar.

Banana Dessert

The first thing I ever cooked by myself on the stove was a version of this… I used to eat it while watching Wishbone after school.  Pretty cool.

Banana Dessert 2

Well, I’m off to get dinner started.  Please excuse my foreseeable absent-mindedness over the next few days… I have a lot to do to organize myself, and a wedding to go to at the end of the week.  I’ll do my best!

Have a great night 🙂

Wynken, Blynken & Nod return

Honesty is the best policy, and I’ve got to admit that there’s about a 70% chance that my eyes will close and this post will go up tomorrow morning instead.  Daylight Savings + changing time zones must be catching up with me!

Today was an absolutely lovely day.  I woke up earlyish and met my grandparents downstairs in the breakfast nook.

Breakfast Nook

I had an English muffin with peanut butter, cinnamon and 1/2 banana and a bowl of plain yogurt with fresh raspberries and blueberriesBreakfast

As I was assembling my breakfast, my grandfather remarked that there were no redeeming qualities to peanut butter.  Of course, I loved having the opportunity to launch into my spiel about protein, healthy fats, folic, and plain ole great taste!

After breakfast, I gave myself a little time to digest before hopping on the treadmill and pounding out 2 miles.  Luckily, Saved By The Bell was on and I didn’t get bored…

zack_morris4 Source

Nothing like a little Zach Morris to keep your heart rate up!  (Although, he’s clearly underage in this photo, and that makes me feel a little weird.  A little.)

On our way out the door to run some errands, my Granny fed me a carrot and told me about her new method for fast-cooking veggies: steam them in the microwave! Make a pouch out of waxed paper, moisten with a few drops of water, fill with veggies, and nuke for 3 minutes or until cooked.

Microwaved Carrots

Is this the end of rebel carrots?  Maybe, as long as the wax doesn’t break down and seep into the vegetables.

Everyone seemed to still be full from last night’s dinner,  so lunch was kind of informal.  I grabbed a Pink Lady apple on the way out the door…

Pink lady

… and got a Grande Skim Mocha at Starbucks.  Mocha?! Who am I and what have I done with LVP?

Mocha

I must have been really thrown off my my choice, because I immediately spilled it all over my purse.  I’m a bit of a klutz!

Spilled Mocha

An hour or so later, I had my first Nature’s Path product.  I’ve seen these Optimum bars all over the blogs, so I grabbed this when I spotted it on sale.

Optimum Rebound Energy Bar

It was good… the taste and texture reminded me a little of a Luna Cookie.

Optimum Rebound Energy Bar

This is my second lunch in a row that’s been supplemented by energy bars.  I’m not proud of this, but it happens when you travel.

Granny and I took a special trip to the grocery store to look for Celestial Seasonings’ Sugar Cookie Sleighride tea that y’all seem to love… we searched in vein, but I did find this Sweet Coconut Thai Chai tea that will hopefully taste like the coconut chai tea I love.

Tea & Clementine

I also convinced my grandmother that she needs some POM in her life.

I Heart POM

We had an early dinner at Spoonriver, one of my favorite restaurants in Minneapolis.  I was really happy when our waitress asked for my ID when I ordered a Moroccan Mojito (mint, lime, rum, cardamom and rose water).  I haven’t been carded in a few months, but this must mean my wrinkle is getting smaller!  It’s funny… two years ago I would not have enjoyed being IDed at all.

Moroccan Mojito

I had a slice of whole wheat potato bread

Spoonriver Bread

… and my grandmother and I both ordered the Broiled Salmon Okisuki in a savory Japanese Ginger Broth with Fresh Udon Noodles. I think Grandpa was jealous… I am definitely going to recreate this at home.

Spoonriver Salmon

For dessert, we all split a slice of butternut squash-carrot cake with pumpkin-cream cheese frosting.  Oh, mama!

Butternut squash-Carrot cake

After dinner, we went next door to the Guthrie theater to see an evening showing of Faith Healer.  It was a really, really powerful play told entirely in monologues.  I loved it.

When we got home, I took a deep breath of fresh air for Averie on the way up to bed.

Minnesota Air

If it weren’t so late, I’d ask Granny to tuck me into bed.  I used to visit them every summer when I was younger, and until I was 11 or 12 or so, my grandmother would put me to bed with this nursery rhyme.  I have such nice memories of sleeping in this room (when I first started visiting on my own, the floor was covered in a thick pink shag carpet) and being here.  Although I went to college in Minnesota as well and visited a lot, my memories from that time are sort of separated from the time I spent here as a kid.  Do you have any memories of nighttime rituals? If you‘re a parent, how do you put your kids to bed?

Around the blogs: Starting Monday, I am going to do my best to follow Angharad and Holly‘s lead and practice yoga thrice a week.  I am also going to take meal-prepping more seriously, so I don’t stand in front of the fridge with the door open for minutes on end, willing the empty produce drawer to magically refill itself.

Wish Jungwha a happy blogiversary and win big!

Have a great night!