Tag Archives: kiwi

Curly Girls

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

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

Steel Cut Oats

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

Oats for the Week

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

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

Pear Walnut Oatmeal

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

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

Agave Cinnamon Vinaigrette

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

Agave Cinnamon Vinaigrette 2

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

Salad Ingredients

In the mix:

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

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

Spargel Carrot

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

Agave Cinnamon Salad

I had a glass of red with lunch.

POM Pomegranate Kiwi

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

POM Pomegranate Kiwi 2

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

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

Asics Gel Kayanos

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

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

Curly's Dragon Q

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

Chicken Art

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

TJ's haul

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

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

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

See ya later, alligators.

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This Sedentary Life

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

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

Yogurt Muffin Mess

In the mix:

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

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

Great Dates w/ Chocolate YouBar

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

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

Ready To Eat Shrimp Curry Salad

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

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

Hospital for Special Surgery

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

Knee X-Ray

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

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

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

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

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

Yogurt Bowl

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

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

*Bananas have a very small amount of fat.

Adapted from Veganomicon‘s Lower-Fat Banana Bread.

Fat Free Pumpkin/Banana/ Date Tea Loaf

Ingredients:

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

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

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

Pour batter into pan.

Fat Free Pumpkin/Banana/ Date Tea Loaf 1

It will be very thick.

Fat Free Pumpkin/Banana/ Date Tea Loaf 2

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

Fat Free Pumpkin/Banana/ Date Tea Loaf 3

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

College Mac & Cheese

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

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

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

Pumpkin/Banana/ Date Tea Loaf

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

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

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

A Chocolove Letter

In my rush to get home and relieve Charley’s straining bladder last night, I left my camera in Brooklyn at my little red-headed friend’s apartment! Horrible, I know.  It will be returned tomorrow, so to mix things up a little bit I’ll be posting about today instead of yesterday.  We don’t have to live in the past tonight! Crazy.

The alarm went off at the usual time this morning.  I’d smartly left my alarm clock (i.e. cell phone) across the room so I’d have to get up and turn it off.  Genius, no?  Not if it means I’m just going to get back into bed again.  Two hours later I woke up, completely disoriented, and with only forty minutes until a coffee date.  Oops.  Luckily, my date was understanding and we pushed the time back a bit, but I hate rearranging plans at the last minute! It’s my own fault.  I’ll just have to find a better system for waking up… or go to bed before 2 AM.

Breakfast was quick and easy: whole wheat toast with peanut butter, honey, cinnamon and 1/2 banana and a strawberry Chobani (eaten using the “plunge” method) with the rest of the banana.   I used my laptop to take the next few photos… the quality is pretty good for what it is, I think, with the exception of the mirror effect.

Breakfast

Took the pooch out for a quick (yet efficient) romp, then headed out to coffee and got my standard skim au lait with a shot of espresso.  Boy, did I need that!  My parents are running very low on coffee, and the problem needs to be remedied as soon as possible.  When I got home, I made a huge salad and thought about how much I need to trim my bangs.

Lunch

This was another salad winner.  I think I burned out on the beet/sprouts/hummus mixture (never thought that would happen!) and this was a welcome change.  I tossed in:

  • spinach
  • red chard
  • 6 oz (dolphin safe) canned tuna in water
  • 1 heirloom tomato (last one 😦 )
  • pomegranate seeds
  • baby carrots
  • 1 kiwi
  • dressing: olive oil, vinegar, Emeril’s Kicked-Up Horseradish mustard

The rest of the afternoon was spent scouring job boards and sending out cover letters and resumés.  It’s exhausting, let me tell you!  I broke for my second Chobani of the day… the pineapple is definitely my favorite, although after learning the right way to eat the fruit-flavored ones (from the bottom, up) I really love them all.  Too bad this was my last one 😦   See that little wrinkle under my left eye? It keeps getting bigger and bigger! I don’t really care that much, but if anyone has a tip to slow it on down, I’d appreciate it!

Snack

My parents got home from the airport (they’ve been in France since Tuesday) around 6 and were starving for dinner.  We went to our regular Japanese spot.  The place was packed and they were understaffed, so the meal was a little slow coming out.  I couldn’t decide whether I wanted sashimi or a bento box, and ended up going with the bento.  It came with green salad, mixed tempura (I peeled off a lot of the batter), salmon teriyaki, one California roll, and rice.  They forgot our miso soups, so we got them to go instead.  I didn’t eat any of the rice, so I packed that up too.  (My mom has the same camera, so I borrowed hers for the evening.)

Salmon Teriyaki Bento Box

When we got home from the restaurant, we had a chocolate tasting.

Chocolate Tasting

Chocolove– one of my favorite chocolate companies- was kind enough to send two bars of chocolate to review for the blog.   I’d tried their 77%, 70%, and 55% dark chocolate varieties before, and their Crystallized Ginger in 65% dark chocolate is one of my favorite chocolate bars ever. (Really. Try it.)  I first stumbled upon Chocolove at Whole Foods when I was in college; I’m a sucker for packaging and loved their wrappers.  They make really interesting flavors such as Chilies & Cherries, Cherries & Almonds, etc., that come in dark varieties.  I love flavored chocolates, but I’m not a huge fan of milk chocolate and that’s often the only option for exotic flavors. And best of all? Each bar comes complete with a love poem! It’s the perfect special date/baby-I-done-you-wrong/you’re-my-best-friend chocolate.

Here’s a little page the Chocolove story from their website:

Timothy Moley is the founder, owner and chocolatier at Chocolove. A tall and slightly eccentric man, he reminds you a little of Willy Wonka. His laid-back attitude, wry grin, and lanky physique would never lead you to believe he is a man who lives and breathes chocolate, and has been consuming two chocolate bars, every day, for the past ten years. Seriously.

It all began in a cocoa field in Indonesia… Timothy was chewing on some cocoa beans doing volunteer work for USAID, a government program that promotes agricultural and technical education in developing countries. He had been living abroad on and off for two years, visiting over 28 countries, developing his palate with spices, teas and wines. And, like most of us, he had always dreamed of being his own boss, dedicated to something he loved. The idea of a career in chocolate inspired him and an idea began to form –  to create a premium chocolate bar, paired with the romance of love.

When he returned to the States, he began his chocolate education and quickly discovered a few key facts about the U.S. chocolate market: the average consumer could tell the difference between cheap chocolate and premium chocolate and they preferred premium chocolate; the available premium chocolate bar choices were limited, expensive and intimidating; no U.S. company was indicating the cocoa content on their wrappers; and flavors were boring.

I was excited to try two new flavors: Peppermint in 55% Dark Chocolate and  Coffee Crunch in 55% Dark Chocolate.

Peppermint:

Chocolove Peppermint

Peppermint Chocolove Ingredients

Peppermint Chocolove 2

This bar came with a poem by Robert Browning called “Meeting At Night.”

Peppermint Chocolove Poem

The Panel

Mama LVP: There’s something odd about the mint flavor. The chocolate has a good texture, but I would like it more without the mint.  I don’t like the aftertaste.

Papa LVP: I don’t think the mint is odd! Just “minty.”  It’s refreshing, even though I don’t normally eat peppermint-flavored things.

LVP: Tastes like a Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookie! I love Thin Mints. The mint flavor is pretty strong, but it’s blended nicely and, as Papa LVP noted, very refreshing.

Bottom line: Would I buy this? If the mood for mint struck me, most definitely.  I don’t often find myself hankering for mint, but the next time it happens, this is my fix!

Coffee Crunch in 55% Dark Chocolate

Coffee Crunch Chocolove

Coffee Crunch Chocolove Ingredients

Coffee Crunch Chocolove 2

This bar came with an excerpt from “The Dream” by Theodore Roethke.

Coffee Crunch Chocolove Poem

The Panel

Mama LVP: I like the texture. It has a nice crunch to it.

Papa LVP: The chocolate has a smooth, deep, and dark flavor. I like the crunchiness of the grains.  I’m not normally a fan of filled chocolates, but I like this.

LVP: It tastes the way a good coffee shop smells: a rich aroma you can get lost in.  It’s crunchy, but the coffee grounds don’t distract from the good quality of the chocolate itself.

Bottom line: Would I buy this? Yes!  This is like a better version of a chocolate-covered espresso bean: it satisfies both my desire for chocolate and my need for coffee.  What’s better than a treat with a buzz?

Thanks again, Chocolove! And don’t forget to check out that Crystallized Ginger in 65% Dark Chocolate Bar.  If I had any money to bet, I’d reimburse each person who claims dissatisfaction with that flavor.  It’s that good.

Our tasting also included Côte d’Or with dark chocolate and hazelnuts that my parents brought back from France (and apparently can be bought at Dean & Deluca!) and dark chocolate “twigs” infused with orange.  So pretty! Wouldn’t it be fun to make a chocolate forest out of these?

dark chocolate twigs

I’m in a bit of a chocolate coma, so I’m going straight to bed.  I need to get up early (for real, this time!)  and do some work for my internship.  How was your weekend? What was the best part?

Bonne nuit 🙂