Tag Archives: muffins

Belly Full ‘O Pasta

Evening! How was your day?  Mine was just fine, but I’m ready to crawl into bed and call it a night!

This morning when I woke up at 8:30, I panicked for a few minutes before remembering that my boss (at my internship) had canceled work for the day. I was up and ready to go, though, which things to do and people to see!

I was excited to try these goji berries with my breakfast.  I’ve only ever tasted these chopped up and mixed into other things, but when I snatched them right up when I spotted this bag on sale for $2.19 at the food co-op this weekend (they’re usually almost triple that price).  Goji berries are rich in antioxidants, and among their many benefits they are touted to improve eyesight (they’re rich in beta carotene), boost immunity, and spice up your sex life 😉

I tossed them in with Greek yogurt, 1/2 toasted Trader Joe’s Berry Mango muffin, warmed frozen berries and flaxy peanut butter. The goji berries are firm but chewy; the texture really complemented the rest of the mess.

This held me over for a really long time.  The rest of the morning was spent reading, researching, and waiting until I was digested enough to go for a run.  I warmed up with a 20 minute hip opening flow, then set out for an easy 2 mile run.

Total distance: 2 miles

Total time: 20:09

Most of my runs are going to have to be in the morning now that it’s getting dark earlier; I’ll have to crank out some long runs on the treadmill when I’m in Russia, however.  I’m a little nervous that I won’t be able (psychologically) to run 7 miles on a treadmill…. What are you tips for making it through a long treadmill session?

Lunch was pretty basic (and very green): the last of the spinach and rice soup and a crunchy salad (spinach, broccoli slaw, celery, roasted almonds; sesame oil/rice vinegar/sesame seed dressing).

My interview was at 3:30; when it was over I hopped right back onto the subway and headed home.  I had 1/3 of a Key Lime Pie Larabar on the ride back:

I found myself in one of the rare instances when I didn’t have anything to read on the subway… it was completely disorienting.  I always have a book with me (sometimes two!); I would have brought one to prom if it had fit in my clutch!  Ari calls me his word nerd.

When I got home, I went straight to the kitchen to unwind and get dinner started.  I’ve had my eye on Martha Stewart‘s recipe for Roasted Cauliflower with Pasta and Lemon Zest (in the November 2009 issue) for quite some time… a little too much time, because the head of cauliflower I’d bought in anticipation a couple weeks ago had started to mold.  But have no fear! I just sliced off the offending areas. I’m frugal, what can I say?

While slicing onion, I remembered what one of my cooking teachers always said: always cut out the middle greenish part of an onion.  I can’t quite remember why that is; I think it has something to do with it not being fully developed yet and causing stomachaches.

I was eager to try out this pasta… Nature’s Place is Hannaford grocery store’s natural, minimally processed brand.  Fresh (not dried) pasta always tastes so much better to me.

Plus, they look like little nests! Two “nests” make one serving.

When the veggies finished roasting (perfectly crispy!), it was all I could do to keep myself from eating them all right off the baking sheet.  I’d already made quite a dent in the cauliflower while I was chopping it… if I wasn’t careful, I wouldn’t have any ingredients left for dinner!

I tossed the roasted cauliflower with the pasta and added lemon zest, fresh parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil.

When it comes to parsley and other fresh herbs, I’m of the “more is more” mindset.

Lest you think this was a dainty, “ladylike” portion…

I had enough fuel to run a marathon with this baby.  Come November 6, you just might find me eating it!

There wasn’t too much room in my tum for dessert, but in the words of Tim Gunn, I made it work.  Dried figs and prunes stuffed with dark chocolate chips are so good… and they just keep me going back for more.  They kind of look like frogs, right?  I seem to have successfully eaten nuts in some form or other for every meal and snack today.

I’m off to seal my day with a lunar flow practice and hope to be in bed by 10.  I’ll make it work.

Bonne nuit 🙂

Edited to add: Kristina from Stonyfield Farm wants me to let you all know about a fun “Greek” opportunity!

“When consumers buy our quarts instead of single-serving cups, they pay less for their yogurt, but we know that a quart is not as convenient as single-serving cups for on the go consumption,” says our President and CE-Yo Gary HIrshberg. “The reusable yogurt cup gives our quart buyers the convenience of the Stonyfield 6 oz cups by providing a way to create easily transportable single servings for anywhere, anytime.”

Yogurt lovers just have to buy four Stonyfield yogurt quarts through December, and mail in the foil lids (describing this offer), and they’ll receive the reusable, eight-ounce yogurt cup made by Preserve®. Made from 100% recycled plastic, the cup is perfect for yogurt-lovers on the go, the ideal size for breakfast or a snack, with room to stir in fruit or granola. It’s dishwasher safe, BPA-free with a screw-on lid – and it’s made in the US.

Consumers will also get  $4.50 worth of Stonyfield and Preserve coupons along with the cup.

Our recycling partner since 2000, Preserve uses innovative methods to turn used materials (including used Stonyfield yogurt cups) into stylish, useful household products like toothbrushes, colanders, cutting boards and tableware. Preserve products are 100% recycled and recyclable too.

Consumers can mail clean foil lids, with name, address and phone number on an index card or 4” x 6” sheet of paper by February 28, 2010 to:

Stonyfield Farm
Reusable Cup Offer
PO Box 4840
Manchester, NH 03108-4840

Cups will be shipped starting in January, 2010 with delivery in 10 to 12 weeks. This offer is good only in the US, while cup supplies last, and is limited to one cup per household (to better spread the love around).

So save those lids!

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A “Quick Meal”- Themed Day

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

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

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

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

Quite the mess!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sweet Coconut Nights

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

 

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

Peanut Butter w/ Flax

How could I incorporate it into my breakfast?

PB w/ Flax

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

PB w/ Flax on bread

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

Toad In The Hole

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

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

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

Kale Chips

Apple

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

Au Bon Pain salad

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

Au Bon Pain cookies

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

DiFiore Marquet wine list

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

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

DiFiore Marquet wine

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

The Donut Pub

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

The Donut Pub

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

Donut Hole

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

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

Parmigiana Salad

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

Parmigiana pasta

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

Criterion Apple

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

Chocolate Snowballs

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

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

TJ's Berry Bran Muffins

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

Co-Op Almond Butter

Beat that, Maranatha!

Co-Op Almond Butter 2

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

Muffin & Yogurt breakfast

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

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

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

Lunch Salad

In the mix:

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

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

Eating On The Go

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

Pink Lady

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

Dirty Hippie

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

Peppermint Mocha Crème Brulée

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

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

Bear Naked Tropical Fruit Grain-Ola Bar

Bear Naked Tropical Fruit Grain-Ola Bar Nutrition

Bear Naked Tropical Fruit Grain-Ola Bar Ingredients

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

Would I buy this? Thanks, but no thanks.

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

Coconut Barley Pilaf with Shrimp & Corn

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

Coconut Barley Pilaf with Shrimp & Corn 2

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

Coconut Barley Pilaf with Shrimp & Corn 3

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

We also had some Sauvignon Blanc…

Sauvignon Blanc

… and I finished off the snowballs.  Nom.

snowballs

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

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.

On Bended Knee

Well, looks like the alarm clock got the better of me this morning.  I had a terrible time falling asleep, and had an air filter going in hopes that the white noise would lull me to dreamland.  It did… but it also meant I didn’t hear my phone go off to wake me up!  Anyway, nothing catastrophic happened and it seems that the world still makes sense.

Yesterday was a busy day at the house, as the boys were packing up and getting ready to go to Europe.  I dreamed a little about Parisian breakfasts as I based my own around Chobani‘s Vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt.

Vanilla Chobani

I also mixed in a crumbled Chocolate Fig Vitamuffin, a small peach, and half a banana. Looks like my camera got a little brekkie on the lens… sorry about the dirty looking photo!

Breakfast mess

It seemed about time to try out my NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia

Coffee with NuNaturals Stevia

Although the label recommends using 5-10 drops, I started out with a conservative 2.  Couldn’t taste anything! Then I overdid it a little by squirting in the whole amount in the dropper.  Not good at all.  There must be a perfect balance… I don’t like my coffee too sweet, but a subtle hint of flavor would be lovely.

NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia

I spent the morning getting some reading done, and reading requires brain fuel! I snacked on a Coco Chew from Bonobo‘s… these are delicious.

Bonobo's Coconut Chew

Ari declined his Chunk of Energy, so I ate his for him.  Don’t you love his shirt? It encourages people to wear seat belts.  Safety is sexy! He owns two of these, purhcased on separate occasions.

Chunk of Energy

A little later, my dad picked me up so I could spend the rest of the day with my parents before they went to Europe.  Do you see a trend here?! Am I the only one I know who will not be feasting on crêpes, moules, and patîsseries? I’m sure I’ll make do.  You know what they say about what happens when the cat’s away…

I made myself a big salad for lunch, and incorporated in these gorgeous heirloom tomatoes Ilana got me at a farmers market in Westchester.

Heirloom Tomatoes

I started with a few leaves of romaine and tossed in leftover swordfish, 1/2 apple, dried cranberries, and that cute little orange tomato in the back.  I made a dressing using Emeril‘s Kicked Up Horseradish mustard that Foodbuzz sent me a while back, white wine vinegar, olive oil, and honey.  Parfait!

Big Salad

Couldn’t resist a few bites of my dad’s cold sesame noodles… this has always been one of my favorite dishes at Chinese restaurants.

cold sesame noodles

I washed it all down with Black Cherry Zevia.  I really liked this flavor! Missy also told me it was her favorite.

Black Cherry Zevia

The rest of the afternoon was spent reading and writing.  Two books in one day? You know it! I read almost all of one novel while soaking in the tub with scented candles. Now, if I could only just get paid to do this…  We ate dinner on the later side, so I snacked on an apple with cinnamon to hold me over.  I’ve been eating so many apples recently!  When they come fresh from the farm, they’re hard to resist 🙂

apple w/ cinnamon'

My dad made a dish for dinner that has already become a favorite in the LVP household: Lemony Rigatoni w/ Chickpeas & Broccoli.  Two years ago, Ari and I made this recipe (from the 2007 Food & Wine Cookbook) the first time he visited me in Minnesota.  A few months later my dad, not knowing that Ari and I already loved this pasta, made it for a family dinner.  It’s a hit, and so easy to make.  Sea salt, pepper & parmesan raise it to the level of simple perfection.

Lemony Rigatoni w/ Chickpeas & Broccoli

I drank a cup of milk with my meal… growing up, I always drank a huge glass of milk (twice this size) with dinner.  One must build strong bones!  (I bought this cup in Berlin… I love mugs without handles, for some reason.)

German Milk

For dessert, we had Bartlett pears

Bartlett pear

… and a square of dark chocolate.

Côte d'Or dark chocolate

Since yesterday morning, I’ve had some pain on the inside of my right knee.  I don’t know if it’s post-race stress or wearing the wrong casual shoes, but I heeded my dad’s advice yesterday by icing the knee and not doing a lick of exercise.  The next time I run a distance longer than 2 miles, I’m going to do it on the treadmill to give my bones a break.  I don’t usually get knee pain from running, but I don’t want to take any chances.  I am, however, planning on doing the Pete McArdle Cross Country Classic 15K on December 13, and came up with this training plan with Runner’s World’s SmartCoach. This is a great resource if you want a little help organizing your own training plan.

15K training plan

Check out Gina‘s giveaway that will help you with your own training.

What are your short-term or long-term fitness goals?

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:

Babycakes 3

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!

Ari is awesome.

I asked Ari what this post should be titled, and this is what he deemed to be appropriate.

Good afternoon!  I hope your day is off to a great start… I woke up thinking it was Saturday!  I slept in this morning, which was glorious.  Not too much on the agenda for today, which is A-OK with me 😉

Yesterday was slated to be a long run day, so I woke up, guzzled some coffee, and fueled up with half a Dulce de Leche Luna Bar.

Pre-Run Luna

I stuffed some gummies into the little pocket of my shorts (which left me a tad sticky)…

Mid-run gummies

I finally made a new playlist… the No Doubt song has been in my head for the better part of this week.

6.4 playlist

The run was fine… again, I just felt sleepy.  I think, for me, running distances is going to end up being more of a psychological challenge.  Obviously the physical aspects are also great, and every time I go out for a run I hope so hard that it won’t be the day that something goes wrong again.   The only thing that went “wrong” today was that my heart rate monitor didn’t register my actual heart rate

Total distance: 6.4 miles

Total time: 1:07:55

I’m not sure if I should be concerned that I haven’t been increasing my speed for these long runs… and it’ll probably be time for me to increase my distance again soon, too.   I just signed up for my first 10K a couple minutes ago- it’s next WEEK- so I’m going to have to start working on this!

My “training schedule” is a little weak, since I only have 8 days, but here’s what it looks like, which I made on the Runner’s World website:

training schedule

When I got back from my run, I made another excellent fall smoothie: Cherry Pumpkin Pie.

Fall Smoothie #2

I made this using frozen cherries, canned pumpkin pie mix, homemade almond milk, cinnamon and nutmeg, and topped it with a little GoLean & granola.  After breakfast and a bunch of puttering around, I packed up my portable lunch.  I wanted to use up all the leftovers, which, combined, made for an… interesting salad:

Leftovers Salad

The bottom layer was covered with sprouts, topped with corn & edamame salad and beets; the small compartment had leftover fish and a few noodles.  Some things, shall we say, do not taste great the morning after.

Leftovers Salad 2

On the subway, I snacked on some TJ’s dried fruit. Balls to the wall, as my lady would say.

Michelle & Dried Passion Fruit

My dad had told me about a DMV that expedites all of their services, so luckily I was in and out (with a new picture!) in 20 minutes.  Must be some kind of record.  It was starting to rain, so I went into Starbucks and bought a Tall Skim Chai so that I could eat my lunch without getting drenched.

Lunch @ Starbucks

After taking a few minutes to read and decompress, I skedaddled along to an informational interview, then picked up a few books.  The first was a beautiful collection of poems by my friend and former professor, Kristin Naca.

Bird Eating Bird

The second was A Race Like No Other, to motivate and inspire.

A Race Like No Other

Then, in the spirit of racing, I rushed home to see my traveling musician, who has spent the last three weeks on his own kind of race, driving back and forth across the country with Blink 182 and the All American Rejects.

We grabbed some friends and went for dinner at a nearby Thai restaurant.  I was still pretty full from lunch, so I only ate a little of my Massaman Curry with shrimp (with unpictured rice) and took the rest home.

Massaman Curry

A little while after we got home, however, I was hungry again, and dug right back into the take-out container 😀  Ari and I went separate ways for dessert; I had a Double Chocolate Dream Vitamuffin with frozen cherries, Greek yogurt, and homemade almond milk.

Vita/Yog/Cherry/Almond Milk

Ari had Saltines with Nutella & peanut butter.

Ari w/ nutella & PB

Nutella is made with skim milk, hazelnuts (healthy fat), and chocolate (antioxidants), so it’s practically a health food!

Saltines w/ Nutella & Peanut Butter

We had a little Domaine Lalande Pinot Noir (a gift from Howard on my last day of work), and watched Grey Gardens, which Caitlin had recommended.

Pinot Noir

It was a great night… I’m so happy he’s back!

I’m off to go cross-train, as my training schedule recommends.  What are your plans for the weekend? Enjoy it!