Tag Archives: cupcakes

Back In Time

As of 3 minutes ago, it’s officially Thanksgiving! I’m cozy at home in my bed, surrounded by my stuffed animals, Polaroids from high school, and hundreds of books, among other things. What was your childhood bedroom like?

Speaking of childhood, I got a fun e-mail from my friend Jenny at 8 this morning while I was sipping on my coffee. Jenny is hands-down my oldest friend; our mothers grew up together, and although Jenny and I have been separate by half a country for our entire lives and only get to see each other once a year, we’ve always been close. When my grandfather was still living, my parents and I visited him in Indianapolis every winter between Christmas and New Year’s; this photo is from the winter of 1988. (That’s me on the right, with the bowl cut.)

Here we are this past summer, in Lake Michigan.

I miss her so much during the year. We look forward to our week on the lake so much!

After my trip down memory lane, I made a quick breakfast: Ezekiel English muffin with almond butter and a banana, raspberry jam on one side and pumpkin butter on the other.

I went to the post office to mail something; it didn’t open until 10 (which seems a little later) but there was a machine that got the job done. Then to physical therapy I went! It as a particularly good appointment. I learned some new exercises to stretch my hips; I can easily do them from the hotel room in Russia. After PT I raced back home to eat lunch before I had to turn right back around and go to an interview. I made a quick salad:

In the mix:

It was one of the rare occasions where I could not finish my meal. Usually, once I’ve dished a certain amount of food out, I will eat every last scrap even if I’ve long since reached capacity. (Last night’s pasta plate was an example of this.) However, today I started getting a stomachache about partway through, and just picked out what I wanted (roast vegetables, tofu, hummus), leaving a fair amount of spinach.

I felt guilty about throwing the rest out (I won’t be back at the house for two weeks), but it was better than making myself sick. As it was, my tum hurt for the next two hours. My eyes are bigger than my head sometimes, and I think the most important thing I need to remember to do is slow down while I’m eating. I’ve been so rushed these past few weeks that although I’ve been eating foods I love, I’ve barely tasted them as I’ve had to practically inhale them to get from appointment to appointment on time. It’ll be nice to have a little break 🙂

There’s always room for sweets, though! I had a couple of these strawberry gummy candies from the Japanese grocery store in our neighborhood. Not bad!

I was starving after my interview. Luckily I had about four different snacks in my bag, so I ate one of the apple-flavored Heart Thrive bars that I was sent to review. I’ll do a formal review once I’ve sampled all of the products, but I liked this a lot!

When I got home I folded laundry and did some preparatory packing for my trip to Russia. I am one of the worst packers ever. I always take too much and forget crucial items, like spare contact lenses or pajama pants. Do you have any fool-proof (or LVP proof!) packing tips?

I snacked on some Concord grapes that were about to go bad while I waited for my dad to help me pack some things up. These grapes are really addicting. There are seeds, which I thought I wouldn’t like, but are actually kind of fun to work through and take longer to eat. Plus, these are the kind of grapes used to make grape juice, so they’re the perfect combination of sweet + tart.

While my dad was at a holiday party, my mom and I had dinner at watched Hannah And Her Sisters. Not only is this a really good Woody Allen film, but it’s told between two years’ worth of Thanksgivings! I ordered a bento box for dinner, which came with a spicy tuna roll, tempura, sashimi & shrimp shumai. (It came with rice, salad & miso soup as well, but I’m saving those for tomorrow.)

I also had a glass of Black Box Wine’s Sauvignon Blanc.

My mom brought home dessert from Billy’s Bakery, the same shop she ordered my birthday cupcakes from.

She bought one pumpkin cupcake and one pumpkin bar; we split them three ways. De-lish.

I’m off to bed. There’s a lot on the agenda tomorrow! Have a great night, a happy holiday, and safe travels wherever your day takes you.

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Cassoulet for a Crisp Fall Day

Good afternoon, Lovepies! I hope you are having a fantastic day, although by the time you read this it might very well be  nighttime for I am once again on the World’s Slowest Computer (WSC).

We are really running low on fresh supplies (although I have oodles of chocolate!), but I’m going to be out for a few meals in the next few days so I’d rather not buy produce only to have it spoil.  Yesterday I turned to the freezer for inspiration, and heated some of Trader Joe’s Mangolicious blend, which I mixed with a crumbled Apple Berry Vitamuffin and nonfat yogurt.

Yogurt/ Vita/Mangolicious

I’ve been wanting to make a pretty parfait again, but the only clear glass in the house has gone missing.

Big bite

After I worked around the house for a little, I grabbed an apple and headed into the city for some speedwork at the gym.

Subway apple

I don’t know about other runners out there, but I have a really hard time staying on the treadmill for more than two miles, and even that is a challenge for me.  It’s just so boring!  There was nothing but reality and sports showing on the TVs, and running in place feels a little depressing to me.  I can’t stop myself from staring at the screen as minutes and distances slowly tick by, even if I cover it with a towel. I think I can also run faster when I’m outside; on the treadmill, running less than a 10-minute mile is really a challenge for me.  One more reason that I need a Garmin! Finally, Behind The Music: Pink came on, and I actually kind of really like her, so I watched that and the time passed  a little more quickly.  I ran 4 miles at speeds ranging from 6.0 – 7.5, taking recovery breaks at 4.0, and cooled down for 3 minutes.

Total distance: 4.15 miles

Total time: 42:28 minutes

Maximum heart rate: 192 (97%)

Average heart rate: 176 (89%)

Calories burned: 496

After a very fast shower, I hurried to the subway, eating my Whole Foods meal (which I had wisely bought before working out, to save time) on the way.  I actually wasn’t so excited to eat this… I think I’m beginning to suffer from Food Boredom.

Whole Foods Salad Bar

In the mix:

  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • roasted sweet potatoes
  • bok choi
  • baked tofu
  • vegan chicken salad
  • seaweed salad
  • sweet & spicy dumpling (1)

I almost got a soup to accompany my salad, but I was low on time and wanted to save room for my afternoon treat.  I hopped on the subway, transferred, and made my way to Babycakes to meet Ellie and Leslie.

Babycakes 1 Babycakes 2

I’ve dreamed about Babycakes cupcakes and their icing shots for far too long. Even if their pickings were horrible (which is far from the truth, their store is one of the cutest places I’ve seen.  The bake staff have the most adorable little Waitress-style outfits (that I would definitely wear in a non-working environment) And, even better, these treats are actually good for you! Have my prayers been answered yet again?  Here’s what they say about the sweets on their website:

In a city dominated by cupcakes overflowing with sugar, flour and butter cream, it’s easy for those with persnickety diets to feel left out. BabyCakes offers all-natural, organic and delicious alternatives free from the common allergens: wheat, gluten, dairy, casein and eggs. Rest assured, all sweeteners have been chosen responsibly and used sparingly. White sugar will never be found in our bakery, nor will we ever use toxic chemical sweeteners. Instead, most products are sweetened with agave nectar—a natural syrup from a cactus which is low on the glycemia index and often a safe alternative to most non-insulin dependant diabetics. Occasionally, unprocessed and unrefined sugar is used in certain goods, although sparingly.

The menu of the day:

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It was very hard for me to choose…

Babycakes 4

As soon as I saw the Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate-Fig Ganache and Cinnamon-Nutmeg frosting, however, I knew what I needed.

Babycakes Vanilla with Chocolate Fig Ganache Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate Fig Ganache 2

Leslie got this as well.  We both thought that the cake itself tasted a bit like sweet cornbread, which wasn’t a bad thing! The filling was amazing, and the frosting was un-freaking-believable.  I need to go back and get a shot of that before they stop making their seasonal flavors.

It was really nice to chat with the girls; I met Leslie in Boston at the Summit, and we really have to get together again soon.  Lucky for me, I’ll be able to see Ellie again on Friday for dinner!  After we parted ways, I headed home.  Ari is leaving on Sunday for Europe, and I wanted us to be able to have a nice dinner together before.  I was mighty thirsty when I got back from the grocery store, and sipped on Goya coconut water while cooking.  This stuff is great… it’s cheap (6/$3.50) and has small chunks of young coconut meat on the bottom!

Goya Coconut Water

I also snacked on this silly-looking carrot.

Funny carrot

I whipped out my Vegetarian Times Cooks Mediterranean cookbook, which I do not use  nearly enough.  Melissa Clark is one of my present-day culinary heroes.  I wanted to make something with either mushrooms or chickpeas (Ari’s favorites, after steak 😉 ), and decided on Garbanzo Cassoulet

Vegetarian Times Garbanzo Cassoulet

The recipe calls for either homemade or store-bought tomato sauce; since the cassoulet was already going to take 2+ hours to make, I picked up a jar of Newman’s Own Sockarooni sauce.

Newman's Own Sockarooni

It’s not organic, but the ingredient list is short and comprehensive.

Newman's Own Sockarooni Sauce Nutrition

I threw in a couple shakes of Emeril’s Original Essence for good measure…

Emeril's Original Essence

Instead of using regular breadcrumbs, I used whole wheat panko.

Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs

Two hours later, the cassoulet was done.  There is a recipe for “Quick Cassoulet” on the opposite page of the same cookbook, which would be nice if you don’t have time to make this one.  However, if you do have the time, it really pays off.

Garbanzo Cassoulet 2

Garbanzo Cassoulet

Garbanzo Cassoulet 3

I served it with some steamed green beans.  We got more than our fair share of veggies!

Cassoulet & beans

After a few bites, Ari remarked, “Hey! It’s vegetarian and I love it!” I’m glad it was a hit.  We both went back for seconds, which we enjoyed with some Gato Negro Sauvignon Blanc.

Gato Negro Sauvignon Blanc

After dinner, we had to run some errands and somehow ended up walking out of Coldstone with huge cups of ice cream.  The photo didn’t turn out, but I got a “Like It” (or “small”, if you are Coldstone-illiterate) with Sinless Sweet Cream ice cream, cookie dough, and hot fudge.  Oof, my tum was not happy about that choice.

Well, I’m off to get some reading done.  Enjoy the rest of your day!

It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Hello there! Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes. It’s turned into a birthweekend, which I’m not complaining about one bit! I’m writing in the first hour of down-time I’ve had in the last few days… it’s been a very busy weekend, but every second has been wonderful. Again, I must apologize for my lack of presence in blogland, but things will settle down soon. In the meantime, I’m enjoying spending time with the people I love.

Yesterday I went with Ari’s family to brunch at the diner. We almost all ordered some kind of breakfast sandwich; mine had scrambled eggs with pepperjack cheese and tomatoes on whole wheat toast, with plenty of ketchup and mustard. We also drank gallons of coffee; for all new readers (hi!) I drink 1-2 (and sometimes 3, if I’m feeling feisty) cups of coffee every morning, usually with a little skim milk, but I don’t always post pictures of it.

Breakfast Sandwich

After breakfast, Ari went back to bed (man after my own heart) and I went on a quick 2 mile run. My training schedule wanted me to cross-train, but I wasn’t going to be able to go to the gym and I figured a short run would be a good way to burn some energy and check in with myself. If you’re a runner, are your runs therapeutic for you? Do you think about important things going on in your life or try to just “recharge your batteries” and zone out?

Even though I’d just eaten a couple hours before, I was already starving. Since I’ve started logging around 15 miles per week, I’ve noticed my metabolism has spiked quite a bit! I’m hungry ALL THE TIME. I had a small container of Trader Joe’s Organic Nonfat Plain Greek yogurt with a farm-fresh peach from Pennsylvania.

Greek yogurt w/ peach

While I was showering, Ari found a pick-your-own pumpkin farm in Wheatley Heights, Long Island. We got there in no time, and borrowed a wagon to aid our picking.  (I love this photo… it reminds me of their album art!)

Ari & the wagon

We were sad to discover that you can’t buy individual apple cider donuts…

Cider donut

… but donut or no donut, we had fun all the same.

Wagon Tour

Wagon Fun

We braved the mysterious corn maze

Corn Maze Rules

Maze Tour

Corn

… and made some friends.

Ari's new friend

Petting Zoo

Goat

Pig Friends

I suggested that since Ari still does not seem to want a pug, a pig might be nice instead!

Cutey Pig

Finally, we were ready to head to the pumpkin patch and claim our prize.

Pumpkin Patch

We heeded the rules…

Pumpkin Picking Rules

… and set out to find the perfect pu’nkin.

Pumpkin picking 1

Pumpkin picking 2

Found it! It even has a cute little finger-dent.  (I think this is one of my favorite photos of Ari.)

Pumpkin King

We haven’t figured out a name for it yet, but we have a few weeks until Halloween to think about it.

Pumpkin Prize

We picked up a few culinary souvenirs on the way out… can’t go to a farm in the fall without going home with something apple-flavored!  Last year for Sarah‘s birthday, we all went apple-picking and had a VERY hard time deciding what (and what not) to buy.

We were only an hour away from Southampton, so we decided to go for the rest of the day.  It was 3 PM when we got there and we hadn’t eaten lunch yet, so we headed straight to the Village Cheese Shop.  I got one of my all-time favorite sandwiches, the California: avocado, sprouts, veggie burger (from Schmidts… these are so good! Sometimes I buy a few and bring them home to keep in the freezer) and melted cheddar on 12 grain bread.

Village Cheese Veggie Burger

Then we hopped over to the Sip ‘N Soda to sit at the counter and share a small cup of pumpkin and cookie dough ice cream.

Sip 'N Soda ice cream

We walked over to the local movie theater to see if anything was starting soon, and we were in luck!  We got tickets to see The Invention of Lying, and played Ms. Pac-Man while we waited.  Now, Ari can beat me at pretty much every single game, whether it’s cards, a physical sport, a brain teaser… anything.  But when it comes to Pac-Man, I am the queen.  What can I say?  The boy got his butt whooped! As for the movie itself: I liked the idea of it, but I thought the execution was pretty poor, unfortunately.  It was still a lot of fun… Ari and I haven’t been to the movies together in a long time, and I haven’t been to that theater in years.

We loaded ourselves back in the car and made it home in time to have dinner with Ari’s family before they drove back to their home.  We went out for sushi, which I have been craving all week!  We got several bowls of edamame for the table:

Edamame

I ordered a small house salad… love this carrot miso dressing! Gena posted a recipe for this a while back, and I can’t wait to make it.

Japanese house salad

For my entrée, I ordered sashimi with brown rice…

Sashimi with brown rice

… and scavenged from everyone else, enjoying a variety of rolls, including Ilana’s lovely Queens roll (mango with spicy tuna and roe).

Queens Roll

I was shocked when I heard another “Happy Birthday” chorus begin while the restaurant staff brought out a dish of red bean, green tea, vanilla & chocolate ice cream out.  I blushed quite a bit 😀  I am so lucky.

Birthday ice cream

I had a bite and passed the bowl down… when we got home, we had cupcakes from Billy’s Bakery waiting! My mom brought these over on Friday.  Aren’t they pretty?

Billy's Bakery Cupcakes

I split a pumpkin cupcake (my mom knows my number!) with Ari.  This was deliciously rich and moist, with the fluffiest frosting.

Pumpkin Cupcake

We’re having another dinner with my parents, George & Judy tonight.  I feel so spoiled that I get to see everyone so much! I love it.  I think Erin expressed the essence of birthdays beautifully: Remember that your birthday is celebrating who you are – spending time with people you love so they can reflect that beauty back to you:)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend with the people you love 🙂

Pizza & cupcakes make a fond farewell

Tonight was the last class of my senior seminar. It was kind of sad, actually… this professor (also my advisor) taught my first-year course freshman year and has really helped shape “who I am” as a student.

I knew we were going to have pizza, so I brought a salad so I’d have more than cheesy bread for dinner.  This “thai veggie salad” had romaine, cucumber, carrots, scallions, tomato, and a chili/lime/cilantro vinaigrette. I also had some diet coke… it’s hard to have pizza without soda!

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I also had three little squares of pizza: plain, mushroom/tomato/olive, mushroom.

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One of my classmates brought in homemade chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting.  Isn’t the heart pretty? I had a regular circle-shaped cupcake.

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Oh yeah, and our prof gave us some closing remarks: do not go to graduate school for the humanities! It’s a grueling process and does not guarantee a job. Duly noted.

On that cheery note, it’s off to bed.  Hope you had a great day!

Collards and Cornbread In Aisle 10

Another Earth Day has come to a close… although I was running late several times today, I left the car at home and walked the [embarrassingly short] distance to school twice.  There’s only one light on in the apartment, and all the electrical cords that aren’t in use are unplugged… the only thing I can work on is the time I take in the shower. I’m almost always between the 5- 10 minute mark.  How long does it take you to shower?

I haven’t had a chance to get to the grocery store yet, so I went to the cafeteria to load up on veggies.  To celebrate Earth Day, my dining hall featured a lot of meat and produce that traveled less than 200 miles to get to our plates.

I made a big salad with romaine, spinach, red pepper, spiced corn, green pepper, cukes, carrots, diced tomato/onion, and had some stewed seitan on the side.

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I’ve been hankering for pizza lately, and was really excited when I saw they had cheeseless “tofu bruschetta” pizza.

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The small bowl has lemon juice, mustard and olive oil for a vinaigrette. I also had some coffee with skim milk.

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Unfortunately, the pizza had absolutely no taste, so I took two bites and moved onto bigger and better things.  Good thing I did, because I made an amazing discovery: Peanut butter and jelly (not pictured) on apples is AMAZING. Seriously.  Go have one now.

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Lunch was pretty big so I didn’t think I’d need a snack, but my stomach was rumbling after class so I had 1/3 of a Brownie Z bar.

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It’s funny… I haven’t run in almost a week, but I’m really enjoying doing other forms of cardio that I used to shy away from.  Today I conquered my fear of the elliptical, which I used to find so boring that I’d get off after less than ten minutes.  Having Gilmore Girls to watch may have something to do with today’s elliptic-success, but it’s good to know that I can do it!

I did about 32 minutes on the elliptical, and then some abs.

Total time: 44:19 minutes

Maximum heart rate: 175 (88%)

Average heart rate: 142 (71%)

Calories burned: 354

Dinner took exactly 7 minutes to “make.”

img_6359

Product Review: Amy’s Southern Meal with Cornbread & Beans

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1
Servings Per Container: 1
Serving Weight: 283 g
Calories: 340
Calories from Fat:90

% Daily Value
Total Fat: 10g 15%
Saturated Fat: 5g 25%
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 25mg 8%
Sodium: 780mg 33%
Carbohydrates: 53g 18%
Fiber: 8g 32%
Sugars: 11g
Protein: 12g
%
Organic: 89%
Vitamin A: 100% • Vitamin C: 30%
Calcium: 15% • Iron: 20%

Pre-cooked:

img_6360

INGREDIENTS : 0G TRANS FAT � NO ADDED MSG � NO PRESERVATIVES ORGANIC PINTO BEANS, FILTERED WATER, ORGANIC SWEET POTATOES, ORGANIC COLLARD GREENS, ORGANIC SWISS CHARD, ORGANIC LOWFAT MILK, ORGANIC ONIONS, ORGANIC CORNMEAL, ORGANIC CORN, MUSHROOMS, GRADE AA BUTTER, ORGANIC TOMATO PUREE, ORGANIC WHEAT FLOUR, NONFAT YOGURT, ORGANIC EVAPORATED CANE JUICE, PIMIENTOS, CHEDDAR CHEESE, SEA SALT, ORGANIC GARLIC, EXPELLER PRESSED HIGH OLEIC SAFFLOWER AND /OR SUNFLOWER OIL, ORGANIC MAPLE SYRUP, ORGANIC CORNSTARCH, SPICES*, BAKING SODA, ORGANIC APPLE CIDER VINEGAR, ORGANIC BLACKSTRAP MOLASSES, BAKING POWDER, ORGANIC GREEN BELL PEPPERS, ORGANIC CELERY, ORGANIC BLACK PEPPER, NATURAL HICKORY SMOKE FLAVOR, MUSTARD SEEDS, GRAIN VINEGAR. CONTAINS MILK AND WHEAT. *100% PURE HERBS & SPICES (NO HIDDEN INGREDIENTS)

Post-microwave:

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Semi-civilized:

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The cornbread was creamy and delicious, and had chunks of whole corn. The greens were so good! They tasted just like the garlic swiss chard my mom makes.  The sweet potato was obviously good (hello, it’s a sweet potato!), but it was a nice change to have it in a whipped form. The beans were probably my least favorite, but I’ve never really been a “baked beans” girl.  Mixed with the cornbread and greens, they were pretty good.

This meal is pretty pricey. It cost about $4.50, and I’m pretty sure I could make a similar meal for myself (and have enough leftovers to eat several times) for that cost.  But, it was quick and easy, and the combination of foods is something I WOULD make for dinner from scratch.  So yes, I would buy this again!

My prof brought four different kinds of cupcakes and brownies to class today, knowing this is a pretty hard time of year.  I remembered how delicious the mini black forest cupcakes were, so I made a bee-line for them:

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X2. It’s been a hard four years week!

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I had a grapefruit when I got home, which I promptly dropped all over the floor.  No matter- just added some crunch!

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I’m going to try to get some work done so I’ll tire myself and hopefully not have trouble sleeping tonight.  Hope you’ve had a great Wednesday!

Cupcake, dear?

Heyo (listen what I say-o… anyone?)! This is going to be quick because I still have GREAT THINGS to accomplish. Well, I can’t guarantee they’ll be great, but they need to get done.

As promised, I had an almond 99% chocolate truffle. Holy yum.

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I went to the cafeteria for dinner tonight and it was exceptionally tasty.  They had my favorite, chili-crusted tofu, although I got totally cheated and only got five little pieces. Boo. But I filled up with some roasted tomato and eggplant, brown rice and corn, and steamed cauliflower.

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I also had a small salad of spinach, carrots, cabbage and pea pods tossed with lemon juice and olive oil.

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My professor brought mini black forest cupcakes to class tonight… these were so good! They had dabs of jam on top of the frosting, and little dark chocolate shavings.  One day I will get into the kitchen and make these babies…

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I had two.

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I had this juicy mess of a grapefruit when I got home…

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… and now I have to go shower, watch Giant, write a paper… so off I go! Have a great night.