Sunday, July 31, 2011

Week in Review: Dinner Edition

Hey Guys! I told you I'd be back for a review of my great eats this week! This week I was forced to be a little creative in the kitchen because we didn't have as many options on hand, but no fear, my creativity shone through and I had some wonderful dinners :)
This was a stir fry of chopped brussel sprouts, carrots, and yellow bell pepper. I also had some toast with hummus on the side.
This was such an amazing salad--seriously, if you haven't tried strawberries in salad, it's a must! This salad was made with fresh-from-the-garden bib lettuce, topped with carrots, strawberries, veggie breakfast sausages, lots of salsa, and feta cheese.
I love breakfast. It's hands down my favorite meal of the day. I love going to bed at night thinking about the great breakfast I'm going to sit down to in the morning. Breakfast is so important to getting our bodies re-started for the day!

For my Sunday morning breakfast I oatmeal cooked in milk and some hemp powder, and topped with a slice of my banana blueberry bread, a banana, and drizzled with sunflower butter. I usually love this breakfast, but something about the hemp powder bothered me this time. I think it may have given me a headache...has anyone else experienced this before?
At this point you might be able to see that my veggies were pretty limited last week, but that's A-Okay because I made the best of it! I roasted up some brussel sprouts with a little worchestire and balsamic drizzle, and served an All American Flame Grilled veggie burger on top. Then topped with salsa and hummus. I LOVE these burgers! I had never had a veggie burger before this summer, but dare I say it, I may be a convert? They're so easy to make, so delicious, and have great nutritional stats! Winner in my book :)
Yeah, we were down to the very last items in the fridge here. Fresh lettuce from the garden topped with sauteed red beans and chickpeas.
Served with a piece of cinnamon raisin toast that was later drenched drizzled in my Dad's Kingsbury sauce.
We've had lots of fresh berries in the house though, so they've definitely made an appearance in my wonderful breakfasts! Feature: Greek yogurt, topped with the last slice of banana blueberry bread (sad!), sunflower butter, and sliced strawberries. This was so delicious and very refreshing on a hot morning (already at 5:30AM!)
I have been loving oranges this summer, and I meaning seriously loving them. I have one every single day with my lunch. They're so fresh and juicy and the perfect way to finish of my lunch.
Yesterday the dining hall at work didn't have any oranges (!) so I went to visit my great friend Chris in food prep to see if he had any extra oranges he was willing to part with. Low and behold, he had lots! He sliced up two juicy oranges for me! How great is he? The pre slicing was awesome for two reasons, first, I didn't have to get my hands all yucky from peeling the orange, and second, I could eat faster! Hmmmm maybe that's not such a good thing?
Try as I did though, I wasn't able to finish all of these slices and a few were left behind. Le sad.
I love getting creative in the kitchen. For me, it's relaxing yet fun. Using different spices, experimenting with different cooking techniques, trying different foods for the first time, all fun! We shall see what this week has in store in terms of creativity, but for now, I'm going to break for breakfast--I'm thinking waffles and peaches :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Favorites Review!

Hello All!

I'm blogging from work today, so unfortunately I can't upload my eats from this week,but stay tuned later this weekend for an update on my weekly edible creations!

However, I did want to stop by and do a quick post reviewing some of my favorite foodie items! I was thinking about doing this once a week if it's popular, what do you think? I would love to hear your feedback!

First item of review: Larabars!

Have you all had them before? I first discovered them through the blog world earlier this year, and the first one I tried was the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip:

I went with something peanut buttery because, well, I love peanut butter! I was a little hesitant at first when I tried this because it looked a little funny, but I really loved it! Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip is definitely one of my favorites! The ingredient list is great, I mean, how can you go wrong with only 4 ingredients? Dates, peanuts, chocolate chips, and salt. Definitely a winner!

Next up, my ultimate favorite, Peanut Butter Cookie. Swooooon:


This Larabar is my favorite for so many reasons, first being the ingredient list: peanuts, dates, salt. Again, awesome. Second, the flavor is spot on! The perfect sweet treat, or pre-workout fuel! I had this bar the other day as my mid-morning snack and it held me over quite well. I love these so much that I actually just asked my Dad to order me a box from online, and guess what? He did! Yeah, I do have the best father ever, but I think I've mentioned this before ;)

Aaaaand here we have Cashew Cookie:

I don't think an ingredient list could get any shorter: cashews and dates. Prior to trying Larabars, I don't think I'd ever had a date, but now I love them! I haven't purchased any individual medjool dates yet, but I keep seeing them pop up in the blog world as a great pre-workout snack, especially paired with a nut butter (I'm thinking sunflower seed?) The flavor of this bar is on point--the cashew flavor is strong, but oh so good! I highly recommend you try this one!

I've tried several other flavors, but today I wanted to highlight some of my favorite! I keep trying to find the Blueberry Muffin and Banana Bread flavors, but I haven't found them yet! Anyone one where I can find these flavors in Manhattan?

So, if you're interested in trying a new healthy snack, go check out Larabars!

I'll check back in soon with an update on my eats this week. (There were some really greats ones, as usual!)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Attempt #1

Happy Friday Evening!

What a week it has been! It's been 100F+ over here the past two days! A little too hot for my liking, thank you very much!

The past couple of days I've been experimenting in the kitchen and having a lot of fun :) For about a month now, I've been wanting to try my hands at banana bread, but have not had any ripe enough bananas to do so until a couple of days ago. I referenced Courtney's recipe for banana blueberry bread but changed things up a bit because half-way through making the bread I realized I didn't have a couple of the ingredients :/

Overall, the end product turned out...well. It definitely wasn't Courtney level, but I'm going to give myself a tap on the back considering I didn't have the applesauce, didn't add any butter/oil, and didn't have vanilla extract.
Either it wasn't completely cooked all the way through or the bananas just made it really moist inside, but I actually liked it really dense and moist! I wasn't worried about it not being completely dry in the middle because I didn't use any eggs (I was also out of those).
I didn't wait long for it to cool because it smelled soooo good! I made myself a little bit of PB&Co. Cinnamon Raisin Swirl sauce to dip it in, mmmmm yummy :)

This actually made a really good breakfast cut up into bite sized pieces, heated up in the microwave, and topped with 1 tbs. sunflower butter and a diced pear.

Tonight for dinner I really wanted to use a fresh eggplant grown in our garden here! But, I didn't want to turn on the oven for fear of heating up the entire house, so I went with a simple stir fry with carrots, onions, and an Asian sauce served on top of some cooked quinoa.
After dinner I was craving banana soft serve like nobody's business, and luckily for me, I popped 1 super ripe banana in the freezer a couple hours earlier knowing the craving would kick in at some point during the evening.
I added some of my (new to me) hemp protein powder as well as a splash of milk and blended it up. Holy yum! This was delicious! I was a little apprehensive of the hemp powder I bought, but I've been looking to incorporate a little more protein into my diet, and I'm happy I chose this one because it's got a pretty good ingredient list and tastes great! Of course, I topped the banana soft serve with some dark chocolate chunks.

I've got another early day tomorrow but I'm looking forward to doing a little more experimenting in the kitchen tomorrow night.

Have a great evening!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Woah-Heat Wave!

Holy Heat Wave!

If you're reading from the Northeast, you know exactly what I'm talking about! We've got a serious heat wave going on over here! I can't complain too much though, I do spend a great deal of time inside with the comfort of air conditioning.

This week past week and current one, like most this summer, have been busy ones indeed! I've been working quite a bit lately and have also been keeping myself busy on the weekends. (Sorry about the lack of posts!)

I had a great picnic this weekend with my good friend Serena from school. Isn't she gorgeous?
Check out our awesome spread! We each made sandwiches (peanut butter and jelly on a TJ's sandwich thin, and hummus-turkey-lettuce-feta on my favorite cinnamon raisin bread) as well as a plethora of veggies, fruit, and some homemade peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. I've been experimenting quite a bit these days with my cookie recipes trying to get a really good one to enjoy as a treat as well as with my breakfasts. Let's be real, there's no better way to start the day than with a cookie! ;)

I've had some pretty great eats this week. The highlight being a HUGE pancake I made for myself on Monday morning. Guys, seriously, you need to make this!
-1/3 cup whole wheat pancake mix
-1/3 cup milk
-1 egg
-lots of cinnamon
-1/4 tsp vanilla

-1 sliced banana
-PB&Co. Cinnamon Raisin Swirl heated with milk to make a thin glaze.

Wow. This was great! And kept me full all the way until lunch! I'm definitely going to be recreating this one soon!

Some other random eats:
Always a winning snack: an apple with peanut butter (crunchy is my favorite!)
Some dinners: above--sauteed zucchini and onions topped with whole wheat rotini and tomato pasta sauce. Below--whole wheat pita filled with my leftover salad from Pump Energy Kitchen which included mixed greens, turkey breast, edamame, carrots, cucumbers, and some other goodies I can't remember. This was topped with feta cheese and my Dad's homemade steak sauce! You know the stuff!
Below--a huge salad with veggies from the garden! Nothing fresher and more organic than vegetables grown in your own garden :) topped with some Morning Star breakfast links, salsa, and a whole wheat bun top with Kingsbury sauce.
 Breakfasts--cereal bowl with blueberries and strawberries.
 Oatmeal mess with cashew butter and blueberries.
YIABowl! With strawberries and blueberries, and then topped with one of my experiment peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bites. So good!

I picked up a box of Barbara's Shredded Spoonfuls Multigrain to try since I'm running low on my favorite Flax Plus. I've already had 10 a couple of handfuls, yeah it's that good! I can't wait to try it tomorrow morning for breakfast! I've got a couple of over ripe bananas to use, so I'm thinking a banana cereal bowl for breakfast. Although... I've been craving some banana bread since seeing The Fitnessista's Baller Banana Bread! Ahh decisions decisions decisions!

I guess you'll just have to check back in this weekend to see what I'm up to in the kitchen and what I end up making! :) Until then, goodnight!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

First Feeding

As per usual, this week was a beast. Thankfully, it was only a 4-day beastly week since this past Monday was 4th of July. Happy 4th of July by the way! :) Mine was pretty good, eve though I didn't get to spend it with my family. I won't even mention the copious amount of food I ate that day, it's a little embarrassing. Ha.

Anywho! This week was pretty busy with work and my internship but I did manage to meet up with a friend for dinner during the week which was great. We got to talk about our upcoming semester in Madrid, where I'll be studying abroad in the fall--I'm super exited! More details to come!

I also got to meet up with my great friend from school, she just got back from Barcelona the other day so of course we had to lots to catch up on!

Some of this weeks eats:
This is continuously a great cereal combo--Nature's Path Flax Plus, a crumbled homemade banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, cinnamon, blueberries, and milk. Usually this is what I like to have for breakfast on the weekends because it's harder to bring on the train to eat, but I recently discovered how I can eat it on the train and so this will definitely be making more of a breakfast comeback!
 I love apples with sunflower seed butter. Period. So. Good.
 First pancakes of the summer! Gosh, I wish I had enough time in the morning every morning to make myself whole wheat buttermilk blueberry pancakes. Yeah, say that 5 times fast. Topped with peanut butter cinnamon raisin sauce (PB&Co. CNPB and milk heated in the microwave).
 Wow. Just wow. I love these pita pockets. I filled these with a little bit of left over bolognese sauce, fresh from the garden lettuce, green beans, and cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese. Then I placed them in a skillet to heat it all up a bit and get the pita a little crispy on the outside. Delicious!
I'm really loving veggie burgers these days, like really loving them. BOCA, Dr. Prager's, Amy's. You name it! Dr. Praeger's Curry veggie burgers are awesome. You should have one. Above is a whole wheat hamburger top with a BOCA Flamed Grilled Burger topped with a delicious salsa and some carrots and cherry tomatoes on the side. There were more veggies on the side but I got hungry while preparing dinner and about half of them disappeared. Woops :)

So today was the highlight of my week! One of my coworkers is Hindu and was having his son's First Feeding celebration today. He invited all of us from work to attend and join him in celebrating his son's first official bite of solid food! I was so honored to be invited to this event, I absolutely love learning about and experience new things from different cultures. It was great to meet some of his family and enjoy some homemade Indian food (my favorite!)
This was only the first plate of three. Yeah, I went all out today. I mean it's Indian food, can you blame me?

Isn't this the absolute most beautiful baby boy you've ever seen? I wish I had a better quality picture, but you'll just have to believe me when I say that this little boy has the most gorgeous eyes I've ever seen.
That's Rana and his son! So precious!

Today was a wonderful day spent with friends and great food! Tomorrow starts off another week but I'm excited to see what's in store!

Friday, July 1, 2011

July 1?!

How is it already July?! Someone please tell me where June went! My goodness, this summer is passing me by a little more quickly than I would have liked. Non-the-less, I can't say I've been sitting around doing nothing, which is perhaps why I find myself face-to-face with July 1.

This week was a little rough, and by rough I mean, I didn't want to go to my internship in the afternoon and sit at a desk while it was a gorgeous 85F outside.
I mean really, can you expect me to stay inside (without a window!) when Bryant Park looks like this? No. That's what I thought too, so I stayed here for the remainder of my day :) Perfection.

Later on Wednesday evening I met up with some friends who are also staying in the city this summer for a wonderful dinner down in Soho. We decided on Gaia Italiano Cafe, a cute little cafe on East Houston Street. It was truly rustic Italian--fresh ingredients, native staff, and warm hospitality. Right up my alley!

They're known for their paninis so you know I had to try one of those! I've gotten on a tomato kick so I went with the "Bubi Panini"; mozzarella di bufala, chopped cherry tomatoes, and basil on top of their freshly baked panini bread. It was delicious.
 My only complain was that there was a little too much olive oil, where it was dripping on my hands and lingering on my lips (in a not good way). But other than that the whole experience was great! It was wonderful to meet up with my friends again, I miss them!

Earlier this week, my best friend from home sent me a care package. She hit the nail on the head with this one. Truly out of the park. She knows me so well and sent me such good treats. She knows how much I love my "bars" and sent me (new to me) one to try from Nature's Path.
Pumpkin and Spice! I've been meaning to try this flavor for a while but thought I should wait until it was "pumpkin season". Foolish me, good thing my friend wasn't thinking this! :) It was so good! Just the right amount of sweet and salty. I loved the addition of the pumpkin seeds and flax seeds. I'm so glad I tried this and can't wait to buy a box of them soon!

Some other eats of this week:
 A sliced apple with a (hidden under there) slice of toasted Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin (my favorite!!!) bread topped with cashew butter and more sprinkled cinnamon. Because let's be real, can you ever have enough cinnamon?
About cashew butter, I bought a jar about 5 weeks ago and have been slowly using it. It's not my favorite, but it's growing on me. It definitely has a distinctive cashew taste though...hmmm...duh, Cindy! :P
One of my favorite cereal combos: Nature's Path Flax Plus Mutligrain, Cascadian Farms Multigrain Squares, blueberries, and milk!
YIAJ--Chobani plain greek yogurt, blueberries, strawberries, and lots of cinnamon! Kinda wish I put some sunflower seed butter in there, but at the time, it just didn't seem like it would be a good combo with I know :)
This was lunch at work the other day: a slice of 7-grain toast, roasted broccoli, mini salad with tomato slices, chick peas, cous cous, parmesan cheese, and cottage cheese. Delicious. I also had an unpictured kiwi. I love kiwi--such a good summer fruit!
I've also been doing a lot of reading, which I absolutely love. I just finished "The Kite Runner" and started reading "Water for Elephants" yesterday morning--I'm almost finished! It such a great read, albeit sad, but apparently I'm into that right now? ("The Kite Runner", "Revolutionary Road"...)

I've got another early morning tomorrow but then Sunday and Monday off for the holiday! Yippee--the first "weekend" I've had yet this summer :) I'm hoping to get some more reading in and lay out in the sun for a health dose of summer color.

Happy (early) Fourth of July!