Tag Archives: lentils

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 🙂

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Five Minutes or Less

Hi there! How was your Monday?  Mine was nice… everything is going to be A-OK!  It’s like Shakespeare’s Wheel of Fortune: what goes down must go up again.  I just need a little reminding from time to time, so thanks for coming to the rescue.

It's All Good

On Sunday morning, Josh, Ilana, Ari & I got up and headed over to the diner for brunch.  No such luck! Not only was it packed, but there was a long wait!  Too bad, because I’d finally decided I was ready to have one of their omelets again after having burned out on them a few months ago.  Next time!  Instead, we went to Locale.   I’ve only been there for dinner before, but their menu looked pretty good.

I ordered the Baby Spinach & Goat Cheese Omelet, and asked for it to be made with egg whites and tomatoes as well.  Instead of homefries, I ordered shoe string fries.

brunch

I added ketchup, hot sauce, salt & pepper… any and all condiments, please!  In retrospect, I should have gone with a salad instead of the fries.  Since I was little, I’ve never been a huge fan of French fries (except when they’re made with sweet potatoes), and these just didn’t do it for me.  I was more than happy to share, though!

Locale Brunch

After brunch, I attempted my Vegan Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Squares.  Now, I’ve made these about six times in the past year, and Anna even blogged about them! For the second time in a row, they have not turned out.  I don’t know if it’s because I had to use regular whole wheat flour instead of whole wheat pastry flour, or that I used about 1/8 cup vegetable oil with the olive oil, or what. But they were gummy and had a sort of “oatmeal-y” texture, as Ari reported.  Very frustrating, because these are pretty much my go-to treat for Fall!

Brunch filled me up for the rest of the day, but I snacked on an apple with yogurt and cinnamon around 5.  I had to eat it in another room because Ari HATES the smell of yogurt!

Apple/ Yogurt Snack

This open bag of pretzels also kept me company on my trips to the kitchen.

Fat Free Pretzels

I wanted dinner to be easy and nutritious.  I baked one sweet potato and 2/3 of a block of tofu in a little olive oil and Emeril’s Original Essence at 400 for about 30 minutes.

Dinner Prep

When it was ready, I plopped half of the mixture on top of a spinach/carrot/tomato/red pepper salad with pumpkin-miso dressing.

Pumpkin Miso Salad

With half a glass of the end of a bottle of wine, I ate my dinner while catching up on Grey’s.  This is what my “TV rig” looks like when I have to stream old episodes! Pretty classy.

Dinner Rig

Dessert was more light Phish Food.

Light Phish Food

Yesterday morning I woke up determined to change the pattern, get out of my rut and be productive.  I started with a good breakfast.

Pumpkin "Cake"

As soon as Sarah posted the recipe for her Microwave Pumpkin Pie, I knew I had to make one.  They only took three minutes to make…

Pumpkin "Cake" 2

…plus 30 more seconds to dump a container of Trader Joe’s Organic Greek Vanilla Yogurt and crushed walnuts on top.

Pumpkin "Cake" 3

Really, this is too fast and delicious for you to miss out on.  I made it again this morning!

After breakfast, I packed up my things and took myself to Starbucks.  Goal 1: Get out of the house. Mission: Accomplished!  I got a grande skim misto with a shot of espresso, and was given a free packet of their new Via instant coffee to try out.

Starbucks

I always put all of the different powders (Vanilla, Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Chocolate) in my foam.

Skim Misto w/ Espresso

A little later, my eyes started to droop despite the caffeine.  I snacked on a Trek Mix bar and woke right back up!

Trek Mix

Ari stopped by around 12:30 and we re-located to Panera so he could get lunch.  When his free WiFi expired, he ran some errands and I ate my lunch while keeping him company.  I had leftover baked tofu & sweet potatoes with black beans and red peppers.

Sweet Potatoes, Black Beans & Tofu

I also had an apple

Apple

… and, when I got home, a package of Kay’s Naturals Lemon Herb Protein Chips.  I wasn’t exactly hungry, I just felt like mindlessly snacking 🙂

Lemon Herb Protein Chips

Lemon Herb Protein Chips Nutrition

Lemon Herb Protein Chips Ingredients

Lemon Herb Protein Chips 2

These were good! They did, as usual, make me feel like Edward Cullen wouldn’t go anywhere near me, they had so much garlic…. I also always forget that one bag is 1.5 servings, not 1.  Very tricky!

Soon after, I left to accomplish Goal 2: Go to the gym.  I brought a magazine and hammered out 45 minutes (+5 minute cooldown) on the bike, arms and abs. I have physical therapy tomorrow, so I’m not going to work my legs out until the therapist tells me what to do.  The PA at the orthopedist’s office returned my call yesterday; the bone density test results showed I don’t have a problem with osteoporosis or anything like that, so I can rule it out as a cause of my injuries.  We’ll just have to keep looking!

I left the gym and headed over to Starbucks to meet my friend Lisa for tea.  She had Passion, I had Green. (Didn’t end up using the honey.)  Lisa just got hired full time after months of sending out resumés and cover letters, so I have hope!

Starbucks tea

When I got home, I followed my 5-minute meal plan and based my dinner around Trader Joe’s Lentil Rice Biryani.

TJ's Lentil Rice Biryani

I sautéed 1/3 block of tofu in olive oil and Emeril’s Original Essence, and added it to the rice.  I also steamed some green beans. Fast, easy, and just in time for Gossip Girl.

Monday Night Dinner

For dessert I gave Gena‘s raw banana soft serve a go.

banana soft serve

I got a little impatient, which is why it looks a little smoother than it should… I melted Pure Dark chocolate and made a little sauce, and sprinkled cinnamon on as well. Yum!

Erin tagged Lilveggiepatch the other day as an “Over the Top” blog.  If you haven’t read Erin’s blog, “Living and Loving in LA” yet, you really should!  This lady ran her first marathon a couple weeks ago, and is a really sweet blogger I am proud to call my friend.  Here are some fun, random questions and answers…

1. Where is your cell phone? Charging
2. Your hair? Down, bangs pinned up. I need a haircut!
3. Your mother? Lunch tomorrow
4. Your father? Dinner Thursday
5. Your favorite food? Ice cream!
6. Your dream last night? Hmm.
7. Your favorite drink? Water. Vodka-soda. Wine.
8. Your dream/goal? Food. Books. Arts. Travel.
9. What room are you in? Bedroom.
10. Your hobby? Cooking, running, reading, playing.
11. Your fear? Unemployment.
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Settled.
13. Where were you last night? In bed watching Heroes.
14. Something you aren’t?  Settled.
15. Muffins? Vita.
16. Wish list item? A job…
17. Where did you grow up? Manhattan.
18. Last thing you did? Made banana ice cream.
19. What are you wearing? Two shirts, a cardigan, and leggings.  It’s all about the comfy layers.
20. Your TV? Gossip Girl!
21. Your pets? Leila Chihuahua.
22. Your friends? Love them.
23. Your life? Close to perfect.
24. Your mood? A little rickety, but on the mend!
25. Missing someone? QT
27. Something you’re not wearing? Socks, a ring, a watch.  They always come off first when I get home!
28. Your favorite store? Owl’s Lab
29. Your favorite color? Never chose one…
30. When was the last time you laughed? A couple hours ago.
31. Last time you cried? Saturday.
32. Best Friend? Several. You know who you are.
33. One place that I go over and over again? Subway tunnels.
34. One person who emails me regularly? Mama.
35. Favorite place to eat? Cozy in bed or at a favorite restaurant.

Thanks again, Erin! Because I hate to choose my, everyone should feel free to answer the trivia!

For Greek yogurt lovers: Kristina from Stonyfield Farms wants me to let you know about a great coupon opportunity that’s going on on Facebook.  When you buy any two (2) containers of Oikos organic Greek yogurt, you get a coupon for $2.00! Check it out here.

 

Off to my internship! Have a great day 🙂

Smooth Moves

Good morning and happy Wednesday! I can’t believe the week has flown by so fast… and I’m that much closer to being 22.  I think I’ve turned a little anti-birthday, but maybe not.  How do you feel about your birthday?

The night before last, I’d planned a really unique breakfast as I was lying in bed, trying to fall asleep.  When I woke up, though, I was doubting my creative abilities and sent a frantic Tweet asking for some breakfast suggestions.  A few minutes later, though, I went with my gut, and am I glad I did! I present you with: The Fall Smoothie.

Fall Smoothie

This is made with:

  • homemade raw almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1/3- 1/2 cup puréed butternut squash
  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon
  • granola for garnish

Uh-MA-zing! If you make this and don’t have almond milk you’ve made yourself, I suggest throwing in a few whole almonds for thickness and added flavor.

As usual, I puttered around for a few hours before I was ready to go for a run.  To hold myself over, I snacked on the last piece of butternut squash banana bread with a smear of peanut butter:

Banana Squash Bread w/ PB

The run itself was uneventful, but I did have some lovely new music to keep me going.

new playlist

Total distance: 4.5 miles

Total time: 43:46

Maximum heart rate: 186 (93%)

Average heart rate: 172 (86%)

Calories burned: 494

Lunch was exactly the same as dinner (hence the re-used photo). Blegh. Soup is finally all eaten up, though!

Toasted Cheese & Lentil Soup

I made a pineapple spritzer using the juice that was left in the can and a little seltzer.

Pineapple spritzer

Both the run and lunch were starting to put me to sleep, so I brewed up some “Magic Feeling” tea that I got in Berlin (only in Germany, eh?).

Magic Feeling Tea #1

Magic Feeling Tea #2

I felt a little too magical, because I conked out for the next two hours.  Whoops!  When I woke up, I was ready to get cookin’.  I snacked on three chunks of energy to get me moving again…

Chunks of Energy

I’ve had the ingredients to make Veganomicon‘s Corn and Edamame-Sesame Salad for a while now, and at the very last minute I decided to add some diced grape tomatoes to the mix as well.

Veganomicon Corn & Edamame Salad

I also whipped up SELF‘s White Bean Consommé with Almond Milk, and halved the recipe so I wouldn’t have another soup sitch like last week!

SELF soup

White bean Almond Milk Soup

It was lacking a little something, so I “remixed” it with alfalfa sprouts, chili flakes and Bragg‘s.  Much better!

White Bean Soup Re-mixed

For dessert, I tried out my last new flavor of Vitamuffin, Deep Chocolate.

Deep Chocolate Vita

Deep Chocolate Vita Nutrition

Deep Chocolate VitaTop

I crumbled it on top of a container of Trader Joe’s nonfat Organic Vanilla Greek Yogurt, and topped the whole thing with homemade almond milk. I don’t know if I’ve expressed how much I enjoy this yogurt before, but it’s amazing!  You can actually see the specs of vanilla bean.

Vita/Yogurt/almond milk

Well I’ve literally got to run out the door so I’m not late for my internship.  Have a great Wednesday!

Little Miss Sunshine

Good morning and happy Monday! Or should I say Moanday? I flirted enough with the snooze button to make Ari jealous this morning; the actual alarm was ringing for over half an hour.  Luckily no one else was home or I would have felt really bad.  I always try to pick the most annoying ringers so that I’ll jump right out of bed… sometimes that doesn’t work so well!

Yesterday I woke up in a funk.  It was pouring down rain outside, and everything just felt a little off.  I tried my best to push it away by having a fabulous breakfast, which I focused on this honey that we picked up at the gift shop in the Sanssouci Palace in Germany.

German Almond Honey 1

It has layers of honey, each at a different level of crystallization.

German Almond Honey 3

The top layer is filled with almonds!

German Almond Honey 2

I found a lucky box of unopened Kashi waffles in the freezer, so I jazzed two up to the best of my abilities.  The first was topped with yogurt, fresh figs, and the honey/almond mixture:

Kashi Waffle w/ German Honey, Figs & Yogurt

The second waffle was topped with yogurt, fresh figs, walnuts and blueberry honey.

Kashi Waffle w/ yogurt, figs, honey & walnuts

This “feel good breakfast” was working its hardest!

Feel good breakfast

I snacked on an apple while trying to rally myself to face the cold rain… look how foggy it is! That white space is supposed to be water.

Foggy Apple

After trekking back across the boroughs and dodging raindrops, I was ready for lunch.  I’m still working on a pretty big container of leftover lentil soup, and we really don’t have any free freezer space for me to store it in.  So… soup it was!

Veganomicon Lentil Soup

I was craving bread, but discovered that it had gone over the hill, as we say.  Instead, I had a Maple Nut Clif Bar.Maple Nut Clif Bar

It was about 4 at this point, and I realized that my foul mood wasn’t going to go away without a little outside help.  After I waited as long as I could for my food to digest, I laced up my shoes and fired out the door for a run.  I would have had to wait at a light if I went down my usual route; instead, I veered left without thinking and ran down a pedestrian-populated street.  When I reached a dead-end, I turned back and tacked on my regular 2-mile route.  I was going a lot faster than usual… sometimes when I’m not feeling great I end up getting frustrated and walking, but yesterday was the opposite.  When I got home, I saw that I’d run 3.36 miles in 29:40… an average pace of 8:49/mile.  Thank you, mean reds!

I quickly did an 8-minute ab session, showered, and tagged along with Ilana for Yom Kippur services.  When I got home, I heated up leftover stir-fry and asparagus, which might have been better the second day!

Leftover Asparagus & Shrimp Stir Fry

This was an enormous portion, but I was a hungry girl and I ate every last scrap.  I enjoyed a bowl of coconut milk ice cream, mixed frozen berries and homemade almond milk…

Coconut Milk Ice Cream w/ Berries & Almond Milk

… while I caught up on e-mails and watched Sunshine Cleaning. I remembered this getting mixed reviews, but I loved it.  It’s pretty dark, but Amy Adams, Alan Arkin & Emily Blunt are so good together.

sunshine-cleaning

Well, I’m off to the mailbox to return the movie so I’ll get a new one by Wednesday.  I’m a little nuts about my Netflix, but I like to maximize the number of films I get per month!

Have a great day 🙂

Off-days with the ones I love

Good evening! I’m so sorry about the posting delay; I spent the weekend with older that, while it still works, is just not up to blogging speed.  No matter! Today’s will just be Doublemint style; double the pleasure, and most definitely double the fun 🙂

On Friday morning, I made one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in a long time: Butternut Oatmeal Pie. The combination of flavors and textures really did taste like a Fall dessert!

Butternut Pie Oats

In the bowl:

  • 1/2 cup steel-cut oats, soaked overnight
  • butternut squash purée
  • Greek yogurt
  • walnuts
  • agave
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg

I spent a lot of time puttering around, catching up on e-mails and cleaning.  I ended up leaving the house pretty late, so my time at the gym was minimal!  I did manage to get a total-body workout in, though: 10 minutes on the stairs, arms/lazy abs (one ab machine), and 10 minutes on the bike.  It’s very efficient, if you only have half an hour.  On the way in, I gobbled down a Trader Joe’s Mixed Berry Fiberful bar.

Fiberful/ I am not sidney poitier

After making myself moderately presentable, I headed uptown to meet Caitlin for lunch at Alice’s Tea Cup.

Caitlin at Alice's

I’m a creature of habit, and always order the Light Fare: small salad, soup & bread.  I was very excited when I heard they were serving butternut squash soup… but, of course, it was made with chicken stock.  Instead I ordered the lentil soup, which bummed me out a teensy bit because a) it seems like always have lentil soup, and b) I still have a big vat of leftover lentil sitting in the fridge! But it was still good, and their bread was amazing as usual.

Lentil Soup Light Fare

The warm pear + endive salad with carmelized onions and roquefort cheese was, as always, very good…

Endive & Pear Light Fare

I think I’m just a little burned out on the Tea Cup. Never thought that day would come? Neither did I.  After lunch, Caitlin and I wandered around, hit up some sample sales, and wandered around trying to figure out what kind of tasty treat we were craving.  Turned out to be… nothing! We couldn’t make up our minds, which I think was because we were actually pretty full from lunch.  On my walk home, however, I stopped and bought an apple from a vendor on the street (and scored last month’s issue of SELF for $1!). Hit the spot!

Apple on the street

A little while later I met up with Greg for dinner, and we stopped at our favorite Middle Eastern hole-in-the-wall for take-out falafel. The restaurant has undergone some ownership changes and is now lit with bright flourescents and features a Maoz-style logo.  Strange.  I ordered the falafel/hummus plate, which came with pita and about a pound of yummus.  I ate all of the falafel (which was a little cold by the time we ate it, but still good) and a piece of pita, and saved the rest of the bread and hum for later.

Falafel/hummus to go

We then went back out for drinks and chat…

Drinks at the Abbey

… which led to this.

Ben & Jerry's

I don’t even really like Ben & Jerry’s, but Peanut Butter Cookie Dough? Half-Baked Frozen Yogurt? I couldn’t say no.  I felt a little sick afterwards, to say the least… oops.

Greg, Ben & Jerry

When I woke up the next morning, my mama was ready to RUN!  We fueled up with coffee, and headed out for a leisurely 2 mile walk-run.  When we got back, I dug into my hummus and pita leftovers, topping them with a microwaved egg, salt & pepper.

Eggs, hummus & pita

This was a delicious combination, and I’ll have to re-create it soon.

Eggy hummus close-up

I also had 0% Fage, an apple and cinnamon.

Fage 0% w/ apple & cinnamon

Finally, my mom and I headed out to take on the day and run some errands.   On our walk downtown, we got distracted by the delicious smells coming out of Georgia’s Bake Shop and stopped inside.  I munched on a chocolate almond croissant to better fuel my shopping tasks. Scrumptiously decadent 🙂

Georgia's Bake Shop Chocolate Almond Croissant

We crossed everything off our our lists in record time, and did a stellar job shopping the sales.  On the walk home, we munched on Gala apples.

Twin Apples

I also introduced her to chunks of energy… she was a fan!

Chunks of Energy

Since I never ate a formal “lunch”,  I snacked pretty much throughout the entire day… when I was little, I followed the “six small meals” plan completely unknowingly!  I like to sample, what can I say.

Big Carrot

We had some surprise guests for dinner (Judy and Caitlin!), so I helped my dad get dinner ready.  While we were prepping ingredients, I sipped on a glass of Black Box Wine Sauvignon Blanc.

Food Prep + Wine

Whenever we have company, everyone gravitates towards the kitchen!

Daddy in the kitchen

My mom set out dried apricots, walnuts, and rosemary-baked bread sticks.

Fall table setting

Dinner was superb.  We started with avocado halves dressed with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic, salt & pepper.

Avocado appetizer

And for the main event: mango/onion/green pepper salad with chili-infused dressing, shrimp stir-fry with homemade Italian egg noodles, and steamed asparagus.

Shrimp Stir fry, mango-chili salad, steamed asparagus

For dessert, we had fresh figs dressed in lavender honey served with Haagen-Dazs’ Vanilla Swiss Almond ice cream.

Lavender honied figs with Vanilla Swiss Almond ice cream

It took a couple tries to get the ice cream right, though…notice anything funny?

Haagen-Dazs' Vanilla Swiss Almond

The carton on the left was missing the chocolate-covered almonds, and they’re the best part!  I’ll be calling the company tomorrow.  Once, I bought a box of Oreos that were missing the cream filling!  What’s the goofiest product blunder you’ve ever come across?

Regular posting will resume tomorrow.  I hope you had a great weekend!

Long Runs & Last Days

Good morning and a happy Friday!  I am so excited for the weekend.  For one of the first times in a long time, I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders and everything really will be okay.  Thank you so, so much for your kind comments on yesterday’s post.  Leaving my job was a really hard decision for many reasons, but I smiled every time my phone buzzed with an e-mail yesterday.  It’s incredible to know how supportive our community is!

Yesterday I’d planned to do another- my second- 6.4 mile run.  I fueled up with a piece of peanut butter-topped butternut squash banana bread.

Pre-Run Butternut Squash Banana Bread

I was still really stiff from the 30/60/90 class, so I warmed up with Yoga For Runners.  With loose mussels, I laced up and stuffed the Hammer Gel my dad gave to me into the tiny pocket of my running shorts for mid-run fuel.

Hammer Gel- Apple Cinnamon

Do you bring energy snacks for long workouts?

Hammer Gel- Apple Cinnamon- Nutrition

I ran to the same soundtrack I used on my first 6.4 miler… I’m a little superstitious about things like that. I didn’t have a problem with stitches until I was about 30 minutes into the run, but it wasn’t so bothersome.  It got really bad during the last 1/2 mile, but since I could literally see my house I pushed myself through it.  Erin gave me some great suggestions about belly-breathing, but I don’t seem to be able to puff out my stomach while inhaling! When I try, I sort of default into a double-inhale-gasp thing.  Overall, the run was a success.  I had to stop more than usual for traffic (which is a good thing, since I forgot to wear my RoadID), but now that I’ve done it twice I know that the first time wasn’t just a fluke!  It’s very exciting for me 😀

Total distance: 6.4 miles

Total time: 1:09:53

Maximum heart rate: 184 (92%)

Average heart rate: 171 (86%)

Calories burned: 773

I soaked some steel-cut oats in the fridge on Wednesday night, so when I came back from the run I dove into them.

Overnight Oats

Steel-cut oats expand a LOT; I had 1/2 cup of soaked oats with Greek yogurt, a banana, and cinnamon.

When stirred, they turn in to a sweet, tangy and delicious mess.

Stirred Overnight Oats

Paula made a return around lunchtime, when I enjoyed a bowl of leftover lentil soup.

Vegan Lentil Soup

I also gobbled up the last of my mom’s brown sugar Brussels sprouts.  I LOVE Fall produce!

Brown Sugar Brussels Sprouts

I packed up the last of my chunks of energy to snack on during my last wait shift ever (I hope).

Chunks of Energy

I left a little early so that I could make two important stops.

Stop #1: Sephora!  Ladies (and gentlemen), if you are not yet apart of the Beauty Insider Club, what are you waiting for?!  I am not in any way affiliated with Sephora, but this perks club is the best. You get great online discounts, free goodies every time you earn a certain number of points, and birthday presents!

Sephora Beauty Insider Birthday Gift

My birthday is still a week away, but they let me pick up it up early.  Pretty sweet, hmm? I also took advantage of being in the store to play around with the makeup a little bit… killing time at Sephora is one of my favorite things to do.  I can experiment in really silly ways without having to commit to actually buying a product (although I do that too, from time to time).  ALSO, if you want to try out any of their skincare items, just ask! They’ll make you a nice little to-go sample.

Stop #2: Liquiteria for some Grasshopper Juice (pineapple, pear, apple, wheatgrass & mint).  This is definitely not cheap, but it was my gift to myself for my last day of work.  And lordy lord, is it tasty!

Liquiteria Grasshopper Juice

Before I went into work I decided that I was going to make this day one of my best.  I was going to have fun, enjoy the company of my co-workers, and not let any restaurant stress get in the way.  Behold the power of positive thinking…. It worked!  I left on a very good note.

My dad came in for dinner, and after Judy joined him I got off early and we all went out to ice cream.  I think I’ve successfully hooked them all on Stögo! From left to right:

Judy’s: Coconut Vanilla Bean/ Coconut Strawberry; Dad’s: Banana’s Foster/ Chocolate Hazelnut; Mine: Bananas Foster.

Stögo Lineup

Now that I know how to make ice cream, Bananas Foster should be a cinch! This is made with banana “ice cream”, cinnamon, rum and caramel.

Stögo's Bananas Foster

On the ride home, I dug into dinner (for some reason whenever I go to Stögo, I eat dessert first!).  For my last meal, Ramón had hidden some of the scallops from our dinner special under my salad.  He is so sweet.

Scallop Dinner Salad

I came home to an adorable goodie kit from April at Sweet Leaf Tea.  I can’t wait to try out their different flavors! And I’m sure Ari can’t wait to try out those guitar pics 😉

Sweet Leaf Goodies

I slept hard last night, and now I’m off to the gym.  What are your weekend plans? I’m looking forward to catching up with a lot of my best friends!

Have a great Friday 🙂

Edited to add: Congratulations to my friends Shannon and Fredo, who welcomed baby Lucia into the world yesterday afternoon!!!

Ready For Life To Start

Good afternoon, all! I hope your mornings have gone splendidly.  Mine was excellent, and I’ve already got a lot accomplished.  Like some other bloggers, I have some big news to share… not nearly as exciting as theirs, but it’s what’s best for me.  Read on!

Breakfast yesterday was excellent.  I love to taste as many things as possible, so I had my meal was both savory and sweet. I heated up an Ezekiel English muffin and topped one half with a mustard, a poached egg, and asiago cheese.  The other half had almond butter and TJ’s pumpkin butter… I think I’m going to have to stock up on this stuff!  Mmm.

Sweet and Savory English Muffin

While I got ready for work, I popped a loaf of butternut squash banana bread into the oven that I’d prepped the night before.  I was completely taken with Liz‘s version of this, but I was too impatient to wait for the recipe! (Rumor is that she will post it tomorrow.) Instead, I used Veganomicon‘s recipe for Lower Fat Banana Bread and mixed in half a can of Organic Butternut Squash Purée (available at Trader Joe’s).  I brought half a loaf to m boss at work, saved some for the house, and took a slice with me that I picked at throughout the day.  This baby is dense! For some reason, the squash seems to bring out the bread’s spices more than regular banana bread. My boss later sent me an email describing it as “BANANA FUDGE!” It was so good.

Vegan Butternut Squash Lower-Fat Banana Bread

The day before, I’d made another Veganomicon recipe (move over, Isa!) to get me through the week: Ancho-Lentil Soup with Grilled Pineapple.

Veganomicon Lentil Soup

While I didn’t make my own chili powder (I subbed in 1 tsp chili flakes) or blend half of the lentils (I prefer my soups chunky), this was divine.

Veganomicon Lentil Soup #2

I grilled up some canned pineapple slices on the George Foreman…

Grilled Pineapple

To make them transportable, I put two slices and a wedge of lime into a baggie.

Lime & Pineapple To Go!

There wasn’t too much for me to do at the office yesterday, so I left a little bit after 12.  On my way out, I noshed on two vegan carob/nut/agave “chunks of energy” that I picked up last week at the health food store.  I didn’t know if I would like them so I only got a few, but they were so good! I bought 7/$1.33, so the price is more than right.

Vegan Chunks of Energy

Although I’d lugged my heavy gym bag through two boroughs, two trains and a long walk, I decided to just head uptown to my parents’ house.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve done this before!  But I’d missed my yoga class, and I was too sore from a run and cardio class to work out any other way.

When I got home, I assembled my soup.  Jim‘s got a little competition! Meet Paula.

Lentil Face

The grilled pineapple was such a fresh twist on an old classic like lentil soup.

Pineapple bite

I loved it! I’m going to try to experiment more with sweet + savory from now on.

A little later, I snacked on a cup of Fage 0% (thanks for stocking this, Mom & Dad!) with an apple and cinnamon. Truly one of the greatest munchies around.

Fage 0%, Apple, Cinnamon

I decided to stay and have dinner with my parents… as my mom reminded me, I can’t remember the last time we all ate together.

Fall Centerpiece

Don’t you love Fall centerpieces?

Pumpkins!

Dinner was a joint effort: my dad made a fabulous Asian-inspired swordfish with basmati rice, and my mom made her famous brown sugar Brussels sprouts (just sauté cooked Brussels in butter and brown sugar).

Swordfish, Basmati, Brown Sugar Brussels Sprouts

For dessert, we split three Whole Foods petit fours three ways…

Whole Foods Petits Fours

We also had squares of Côte d’Or’s dark chocolate with pistachios and sesame that my dad brought back from France.

Côte d'Or

This chocolate can be found in pretty much any supermarket and bodega in France, but don’t let that fool you! It’s AMAZING.  The chocolate is rich and smooth, and filled with the most interesting ingredients.  It’s my uncle’s favorite chocolate ever (and he’s a serious chocoholic), and my friends and I ate it all.the.time when we were in Paris.  Look how thick it is!

Côte D'Or

When I got back to my apartment, I crashed into bed, stretched my aching bones, relaxed and watched The Secret Lives of DentistsHas anyone seen this? What did you think? I love Hope Davis, and Campbell Scott always makes me think of Singles!

So, onto my news. I’ve tried to leave my work life at work, but, as you probably know, I work in a restaurant as a waitress.  I’ve worked at this particular place for the past three summers, starting in May after my sophmore year of college.  That first summer was probably the best: I felt exhilarated after finishing half of college, I met some really great people (through the restaurant), and Ari and I started dating.  Last year was fun as well; I’d just come back from a great semester in Paris and I was beginning to feel more like an adult.  This year, however, after having graduated, has been more of a reality check.  I wasn’t in school anymore, and this wasn’t just a “summer job.”  Because of the recession, business has been incredibly slow and I had nights where I came home with literally $1.   Customers treated me with unbelievable rudeness; there were two instances when I had to call the police.  I was working crazy hours and not getting any rest, crying myself to sleep more than I’d like to remember. (Ari has been so, so great throughout all of this; without him, I never would have been able to hold out this long.) I was expending all of my energy on a job that made me utterly miserable.  I haven’t been able to do what I love because I haven’t even had time to think about what that might be.  And, as silly as it sounds, I don’t want to turn still be working there when I turn 22.

So, last week, I informed the restaurant that I would be leaving the following week…. today is my last day. On the one hand, I feel bad about leaving the people that I’ve come to really enjoy spending time with.  On the other, I’d rather spend time with them in a stress-free setting.  This is what’s best for me.  It’s scary, because while I’m searching for a “real” job, I won’t be earning any income.  Lucky for me, my parents are amazing and are going to help out a little bit.  I will definitely be budgeting like a madwoman and putting my all into finding a job.  I don’t expect to find my dream job right away, but I know I have to get out of the service industry.  I have so much respect for the millions of people who work in service, retail, and manual labor.  I just can’t do it anymore.

On another happy note, I finally tracked down the Fuze Heroes For Hope photo Ilana and I took at the 5K Race For the Cure.

Fuze Heroes

Off to go make my last day my best.  Have a great Thursday 🙂