Tag Archives: sushi

Day Two

Good evening! How are you all this beautiful Friday evening? I for one could not be happier about being in bed and under the covers at 11:30 on a Friday night, away from the blustery cold and a long day.  I’m a little too comfortable… I’ll be very proud of myself if I make it through this whole post without nodding off!

We ended up making rich mugs of hot chocolate last night before we went to sleep (I’m not sure there’s a more perfect nightcap on the market) using Jacques Torres’ hot chocolate.

Ari was in charge of the preparation….

He did a pretty good job.

The chocolate was very thick and filling, almost like a pudding.  I topped mine with marshmallows and cinnamon.

It knocked me right out, and I fell asleep almost immediately.   Although I’ve been getting less rest than usual this past week, I bounded out of bed as soon as my alarm went off.  Must be the pre-work jitters!

I made another rich breakfast, hoping it would hold me well into the morning: 5 grain cereal with ground flax, cinnamon, 1 small banana, warmed frozen berries, almond butter and agave.

I got to the office right on time, ready to start Day 2 of training.  Did I mention I have my own office? 😀   Around 11:30 my stomach was growling pretty loudly, so I dug around in my purse for a snack.  Unfortunately I was a little distracted last night and didn’t have time to pack a lunch or snacks, but luckily I found a Date Heart Thrive hidden away!

We broke for lunch around 1:30 and I dashed out to grab a salad.  Hopefully I’ll be able to plan better in the future… I can’t spend $11 every day for a mediocre meal!  I had a mixed green salad with marinated mushrooms, tofu, avocado, asparagus, and chili lime vinaigrette.  It was pretty blah.

I needed a little pick-me-up, so I visited the fancy coffee machine in the communal pantry.

We’re running low, but there are so many flavors to choose from! Each cup is brewed “to order”, with the push of a button.  Pretty cool, hmm?

I spent the rest of the day trying to learn as much as possible from my trainer… I’m on my own starting Monday!

After work, I met my Little Redheaded Friend for dinner.  We went to Friend House 2 (I was very sad to discover that the original Friendhouse, one block over, had closed within the last month 😦 ) for Japanese.

We started with miso soup:

For my entrée, I strayed from my usual order (sashimi) and ordered a roll combination instead.  I must have been craving carbs!  By the time I finished my Sweet Potato, California, and Spicy Tuna rolls, I was thoroughly stuffed.

Kalle and I sat and chatted for a little while and let our tums settle before making our way to Whole Foods for dessert.  We’d originally wanted to go to a proper coffee or dessert shop, but it was so cold and windy out that we just decided to take refuge in the supermarket.  I got a “Caramelita bar”, which tastes like a cross between a Hello Dolly/Magic/7 Layer bar and Pecan Pie.

This was as big as it looks, and then some.  I’d broken it in half and had fully planned on saving the rest for later, but we were in the store for almost an hour and I ended up nibbling the whole thing. It was a little too rich for me, but it was still very tasty.

Well, I made it through the post without falling asleep!  I’m watching A Christmas Tale while I wait for Ari to get home, but it’s a pretty long movie my chances of finishing it are slim.  What are your favorite holiday movies?

Have a great weekend!

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New Traditions and a Chocolate Scream!

Good morning and happy Sunday! Ari woke up at 6 thinking it was 7… we completely forgot about Daylight Savings!  I had a hard time falling back to sleep, and puttered around a little before getting in bed again.  THe next time I opened my eyes it was 10:30, and I’d gotten almost 12 hours of sleep!  It was delicious.

We slept in yesterday morning as well.  I got up first, talked scary movies with this girl, then woke the boy up.  We went to the diner for the first time in a long time; I was finally ready for an omelet again! I ordered an omelet with 1/2 egg whites and 1/2 egg, spinach, tomato, feta and mushrooms. After my order, Ari gave me the you’re-being-a-pain-in-the-bum look… I know it was kind of an obnoxious order, but I wanted it to be just right.  It was pretty big, and I only had room for one bite of home fries.

LVP Omelet

Toast was enjoyed as well… diner meals are pretty much the only time I like my toast buttered.  It must be something about it mixing with HFCS-filled grape jelly, but it’s just delicious! Unfortunately the toast came dry, and by the time I added my own butter the bread was cold so it didn’t melt.  It was still good, though!

Diner toast

After brunch, Ari carved our pumpkin

Pumpkin 1 Pumpkin 2

… while I toasted the pumpkin seeds.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Salty-Sweet Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

  • seeds from 1 pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 6 cups of water
  • 3-1/2 teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 400.  Thoroughly remove stringy insides from seeds.  Rinse well; the seeds should be completely free of orange pulp.   Put seeds in pot with water and salt over medium-high heat until water boils.  Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Drain seeds.

Mix oil, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a bowl.  Add pumpkin seeds and hand-toss to coat.  Spread seeds evenly in a glass baking dish or cookie sheet.  Put dish in oven and toast until crispy, 30-40 minutes.  Enjoy!

We ate almost all of those while we worked around the house… I definitely ate the lion’s portion, but they’re so good!  Soon, we heard a knock.  Fitting that our first trick-or-treaters should be part of the veggie and fruit patch!

Halloween Produce 1

Halloween Produce 2

This tomato was sassy.

Halloween Produce 3

Would you let us operate on you?

Doctors

Dr. Ari started to look a little sick by the time dinner rolled around…

Zombie Doc

… but he treated me to sushi.  What a nice zombie!

Sushi bento

Bentos two nights in a row?! Lucky me! It came with sashimi, shrimp shumai, a California roll, rice (which I didn’t eat), and salad.

Side Salad

It also came with honeydew.

Honeydew

Ari and I brainstormed about what would make the perfect Halloween dessert cocktail.  If you’re an old-school reader, you may remember the hot cocoa/marshmallow debacle of Halloween 2008.  Not pretty.   Well, I based this year’s Halloween Scream on the same Martha Stewart recipe, but added some personal touches.

Halloween Scream Prep

Ari requested butterscotch chips (I’m not a huge fan, but that’s love!), and we added Kahlua. The colors are a little Halloween-ie, yes?

Halloween Scream

We topped the finished product with cinnamon and marshmallows.  (I’d thought marshmallows went on Ari’s “white and creamy veto list” –he’s going to have to do his own post on this someday soon– but it turns out he likes them! What a breakthrough.) This photo doesn’t show it, but the cocoa was red!

Halloween Scream 2

I drank about a third, but it was too rich for me.  It reminded me a lot of the drinking chocolate we had in Paris! I switched to an apple instead… I wasn’t really hungry for it, but I needed something to munch while watching Halloween H2O!

Apple

It was a low-key Halloween, but it was a really nice day.  Hope you had a good one, too!

Congratulations to Melissa and all of the other NYC Marathoners!!!

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Proctologist

Happy Halloween!  I hope you are all having a wonderful night, whether you’re at a party, parade, or staying at home watching movies.  Ari and I decided to do the latter, although we’ve been sitting in our costumes all day waiting for Trick-or-Treaters!

Yesterday I started the day with my first (ever!) batch of Oats in a Jar.

Oats in a Jar 1

I added 1/2 cup of oats and 1/2 cup of water to the almond butter jar and microwaved it for one minute.

Oats in a Jar 2

I topped it with 1/2 banana, 2 chopped prunes, 3 walnuts, a little skim milk and brown sugar. It was delicious! I may or may not have rescued an empty jar of peanut butter from the trash so I can make this again…

My mom gave me an idea about how to solve the Ester-C powder problem… try mixing it in something else! I put a scoop into a little bit of plain yogurt.

Ester C in Yogurt

It’s still really disgusting, and I had to down a cup of coffee right away after I ate it.  But… it did the trick, and it went down a lot faster than if I’d had to drink it.  I’m out of yogurt, though, so I’ll have to find some more creative ways to eat this.

I wanted to get an early start to my day, so I said goodbye to the hair this guy and headed to the gym.

Ari's hair

Time was limited, so I just did some arms, abs, PT stretches (which I will post at the end for Melissa) and 18 minutes on the elliptical.  Short and sweet.   Afterward, I met George for lunch at Pizza Gruppo.  Always one for deals, I ordered the salad + 1/2 sandwich special.  The salad was bigger than I’d expected, and came with mushrooms!

Side Salad

My panini came with goat cheese, pesto, and roasted vegetables. It was really good! I haven’t had a sandwich I didn’t make myself in a looong time.

Gruppo Panini

After lunch I stopped by Paragon to pick up a foam roller.  There was so much pre-marathon mania going on… very exciting to be around!  When I got home, I sprinkled 1/4 packet of YouBar‘s YouShake Blended Bliss into the last of my yogurt.

Yogurt w/ YouShake

I also split an apple with cinnamon with Ari (who proudly told me he had green juice for lunch!) while we ran some Halloweenie-errands.

Apple w/ Cinnamon

For some reason I was snackier than usual, so I had some chunks of energy while getting ready to meet my little redheaded friend for dinner.

Chunks of Energy

Kalle and I found a Japanese restaurant with a great dinner special.  It’s so easy to spend a lot of money when ordering sushi, so the specials are imperative.  I ordered the Sashimi+Roll combination, which came with miso soup and salad.

Miso & Salad

The sweet potato roll was delicious… and my second in one week!

Sweet Potato Roll

The sashimi was beautifully presented.

Sashimi

It came with two pieces of cucumber-wrapped fish… what a great alternative to rice!

Cucumber-wrapped sushi

The special also came with shrimp shumai and edamame.

Shumai & Edamame

Kalle’s rolls were also creatively presented and looked delicious.

Roll Presentation

After dinner, we went back to her apartment to talk and drink Malbec out of black goblets.  I broke the cork in half, but managed to get it out of the bottle! Looks like my waitressing skills are falling by the wayside…

Malbec in Black Goblets

I got home pretty late and didn’t end up going to bed until almost 3… the night was definitely worth it, though.

And now, onto the physical therapy!

One exercise that I’ve been working on with my PT is called the clamshell, which strengthens quads.  Lying on my side in bed or on the floor, I stack my knees at a 90 degree angle.  Clenching my glutes and quads, I slowly raise one knee while keeping my feet together.  I repeat this twenty times, then switch to my other side.  Repeat series.

Another exercise that strengthens quads and calves is done by sitting on a chair or on the edge of the bed.  Extend one leg straight out and flex glutes, quads, calves and toes.  Twist leg to the side, then back to center.  Repeat until leg is fatigued, and switch legs.

Around the blogs: Jungwha is giving away a Sodastream!

Happy Halloween from the Upwelling and LVP… have a great night!

The Mysterious Squash

Good morning and happy Thursday! It’s going to be a good day, I can just tell 😀  How has your week been going? What was the most surprising or thing that brought you the most happiness?

The rolled oats stash still hasn’t been replenished, and I haven’t gotten a new batch of steel-cut whipped up yet, so I had to think a little about what I wanted for breakfast yesterday.  I opened the fridge, pulled out the almond butter, and…

Empty Almond Butter Jar

Oh no! Take me to a Trader Joe’s and make no stops on the way!  Well, I don’t know when I’m actually going to get to TJ’s, so I tried to leave a little nut butter on the sides to make oats-in-a-jar when the time is right.  That wasn’t enough for breakfast, though, so I pulled out a sample of Sunbutter that I’ve had lying around for a few months.

Sunbutter 1

Sunbutter 2

When squeezed out, it looks likes this:

Sunbutter 3

One Ezekiel English muffin half had almond butter and TJ’s pumpkin butter, the other Sunbutter and raspberry jam.

Ezekiel breakfast

The Sunbutter definitely tastes like sunflower seeds.  I think I still prefer almond and peanut butters, but this was a nice change.  I don’t know if I would buy a whole jar of this, but if I had more travel packets I would use them for on-the-go snacking.

I took all of my new vitamins with breakfast (except the melatonin, which is only for when I really can’t sleep at night).

Vitamins

Unfortunately I didn’t read the label carefully when I was at the store and bought the powdered Ester-C (which aids iron absorption) instead of the capsule, which means I have to drink it.  And let me tell you, this is one of the worst tastes I’ve ever known.

I worked and researched most of the morning, and broke for lunch around noon before I had to leave for physical therapy.  I made a big salad through my session:

Lunch Salad

In the mix:

It was a big salad! I almost couldn’t finish it, but I’m not usually one to leave greens on my plate.  I went into the city to get my H1N1 flu shot (seasonal flu shot has already sold out almost everywhere), then went across town to my physical therapy appointment.  I was early, so I popped into Tasti to get a treat and read a little.  I got a small cup of chocolate raspberry mousse:

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Tasti

My appointment went really well.  I really like my therapist; she’s a former marathoner and current Half-Iron Man-er, and just seems to know what she’s doing (a welcome change).  She  worked with me for over an hour, and came to the same conclusion as the first PTmy muscles aren’t strong enough to support the kind of running I’m doing. If I want to be an endurance athlete and compete in races, my quads, glutes, calves, etc. have to be really strong.  I need to work on strength moves, increasing my flexibility (stretching, rolling out with the foam roller) and core moves every day. My knees do point in (the first PT diagnosed me with “squinting patellae”) but strengthening my quadraceps will force them back into place.  And the even better news? I can start back up again (slowly) in the next few days, and can run the 15K in December!!!

She asked if I’d be okay with running on the treadmill for a few minutes to analyze my gait, and you should have seen the way my eyes lit up.  Running? Now? Even though I hate the treadmill, I felt like I was flying.  I do pronate, and my hips do come out and come forward when they shouldn’t (which has caused tightness in my IT band that I didn’t even know about until she worked it through with her fingers), but it can all be corrected.  Woohoo!!!! I’m going back today; she wants to see me twice a week for a month or so.  Thank the lordy. If I had a job right now, I wouldn’t have this kind of flexibility!

On the ride home, I was hungry again so I snacked on a Trek Mix bar.

Trek Mix Bar

When I got home, I did some more searching and researching, and started to think about dinner.  It was going to take a couple hours to make, so when Ari ordered sushi for himself and Josh I politely requested my very own sweet potato roll.

Sweet Potato Roll

Seriously, I don’t know how I didn’t know about these until now.  What would I do without Ilana and Ari? Amazing!

My own dinner was based on this recipe.   When I went to the produce store, I found a squash I’d never seen before.  It started with a G… Galaban? Galabaga? When I looked it up on this handy squash glossary, however, I discovered that it was one of the most popular squashes with bloggers: the kobucha!

Kobucha Squash

These were sold already halved; each half was about 70 cents.

I changed the recipe a little bit; I halved the “pudding” recipe, only used egg whites (I don’t have whole eggs), didn’t use anise, and used red onions instead of scallions.

Roasted Corn Pudding in Kobucha Squash

It took a long time to cook (about an hour and a half), but the results were worth it.

Roasted Corn Pudding in Kobucha Squash 2

I ate one half of the squash and saved the rest for another day.  It was really satisfying, and so good that I ended up eating the skin, too! Oops.

Roasted Corn Pudding in Kobucha Squash 3

For dessert, I smeared a pumpkin bar with peanut butter.  It wasn’t worth it: still tasted bad.  Into the trash they go!

Pumpkin Blondie

Ari and I took Carlye‘s suggestion and watched the pilot of Psych.  We thought there would be a few more episodes on the first disc, but it was just the one! So off I go to the mailbox… must make sure there’s a Halloween movie here for Saturday!

Have a great day 🙂

P.S. Averie is giving away ProBar Fruitition bars!

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 🙂

You’re the Splits: A Tribute to Gourmet Magazine

Good morning and happy Wednesday! How is your day going so far? Mine’s going just fine, although I can’t figure out how it’s already 10:30! The same thing happened last night: I got home at 7:30, had dinner, and all of the sudden it was after midnight.  Crazy!

Yesterday, as I mentioned, I slept through the alarm.  My training plan had 2 easy miles scheduled in for the day, and since I had to intern and go to an event in the evening, there was really no other time to go.  So I threw on my exercise clothes and raced – slowly, of course- out the door, jamming along to the Gaga.

Total distance: 1.96 miles

Total time: 20:54

Maximum heart rate: 176 (89%)

Average heart rate: 166 (84%)

Calories burned: 216

When I was back and showered I was already running late, so made a quick breakfast of plain Chobani with 1/2 banana, and a piece of whole wheat toast with the rest of the banana, honey and cinnamon.

Breakfast

There didn’t end up being too much for me to do at work, so I was able to leave after lunch.  My mom also had a little time in the morning before her flight to Paris, so she met me in the Village and we had a nice lunch at Doma.

Mom @ Doma

I found this cafe on my first day of back in June, then couldn’t find it again until yesterday. I have a pretty terrible sense of direction.  I wanted a salad but couldn’t decide which one, and at the last minute decided to go for the soup + 1/2 sandwich combo.

The soup was black bean (I removed the white and creamy sour cream):

Doma Black Bean Soup

I chose a grilled gruyère sandwich to feel a little more française.

Grilled Gruyère

Everything was good, but the sandwich was a little tough and I left craving veggies.

Doma

After lunch, we strolled around and somehow found ourselves in front of a pet store.  I took this to taunt Ari with send to Ari…

Take Me Home!

No, a pup did not come home with me.  It was sad, but it would be sadder if I couldn’t afford to feed it.  Anyway, Mama and I moseyed along until we hit The Light Choice.  We both got what we agreed was the best Tasti-type flavor yet: Almond Joy! It tasted just like Gena‘s Raw Almond milk, but frozen.

TLC Almond Joy

We also stopped and picked up two late-birthday presents: a new gym bag (I’ll post pictures of my old one later… it was gross) and new running shoes. My mom finally had to leave to go to the airport (I really had to twist her arm 😉 ) and I went home.

My friend Howard invited me to a cocktail party and kitchen demonstration at Smallbone of Devizes, an upscale kitchen boutique on the Upper East Side.  I knew there would be a lot of good food and I didn’t want to be ravenous when I got there, so I had an apple before I left.

Apple

The party was hosted by Architectural Digest and catered by Daniel, one of the fanciest (and tastiest) restaurants in New York.  Everything was amazing, and I really wish I could have documented it for you! Unfortunately, AD was covering the whole thing and wouldn’t allow outside photography.  Trust me when I say that my fingers were itching to whip out my camera and snap photos of the chef poaching partridge breast in Napa cabbage leaves.  I may not eat those myself, but I can appreciate the skill it takes to prepare such a lovely dish. Two glasses of wine later I left and went home to eat dinner.

My knee was really hurting so I didn’t want to schlep all the way out to the grocery store; instead I stopped at Gourmet Garage and picked up some sashimi.

Sashimi

I also had a few bites of cold pasta.

Cold Pasta

Although I’d already had a treat once today and enjoyed two glasses of wine, I’d been thinking about dessert all day.  I really wanted to contribute to Julie‘s tribute to Gourmet magazine, so I made myself an individual portion of the magazine’s Caramelized Banana Splits with Hot Chocolate Sauce, from their 2009 “Quick Kitchen” booklet.

Gourmet Banana Split

I adjusted the recipe to be a little more LVP-friendly, substituting Brummel & Brown for butter, skim milk for heavy cream, and La Loo’s Mission Fig Goat Milk Ice Cream for regular old vanilla.

Recipe Adjustments

This ice cream, by the way, is unbelievable.

LaLoo mission fig 1

LaLoo mission fig 2

The Banana Split was amazing: the bananas were perfectly caramelized, the toasted nuts gave the smooth chocolate a spectacular crunch!, and the fig ice cream was a wonderful surprise that complemented each different flavor.

Banana Split

Banana Split 2

We still have the November issue of Gourmet to look forward to, but I can’t imagine a holiday season without their Christmas cookie special.  I’m sure Gourmet‘s demise is going to open all kinds of doors in the world of food media, but it’s going to take a lot of getting used to.  I foresee poring over back-issues from the 1970s in my future…

Except for the lack of vegetables consumed, it was a pretty great day.  I did, however, spend the last few hours with my knee bound up like this…

Ace Knee

…icing on and off.  When I went outside to walk Charley, I felt like I could barely walk.  A man, who was clearly on his first few days of crutches, passed me on the street.  I will admit, I’m a little discouraged.  I’m really hoping this isn’t serious, because I am just starting to feel like a real athlete, and that maybe the 2010 NYC Marathon is a goal within reach.  We’ll see.  I’m going to take it slow; I’ll try using the bike at the gym today and see how that feels.

Do you push through an injury or go straight to the doctor?

Have a great day!

It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

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

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

Breakfast Sandwich

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

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

Greek yogurt w/ peach

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

Ari & the wagon

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

Cider donut

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

Wagon Tour

Wagon Fun

We braved the mysterious corn maze

Corn Maze Rules

Maze Tour

Corn

… and made some friends.

Ari's new friend

Petting Zoo

Goat

Pig Friends

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

Cutey Pig

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

Pumpkin Patch

We heeded the rules…

Pumpkin Picking Rules

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

Pumpkin picking 1

Pumpkin picking 2

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

Pumpkin King

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

Pumpkin Prize

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

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

Village Cheese Veggie Burger

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

Sip 'N Soda ice cream

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

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

Edamame

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

Japanese house salad

For my entrée, I ordered sashimi with brown rice…

Sashimi with brown rice

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

Queens Roll

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

Birthday ice cream

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

Billy's Bakery Cupcakes

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

Pumpkin Cupcake

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

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