Saturday, August 30, 2008

Getting Creative

You all will be happy to know that I have been trying some new dishes these past few days. I tried out a few of your suggestions from my last post, but I also did a little experimentation of my own the kitchen. Did you know that cooking is an excellent mode of procrastination? Food is much more of a priority than homework, in my opinion...

A few of you mentioned that you like to combine broken up Clif Z bars into Greek yogurt as a quick and tasty snack/breakfast. Well, I improvised a similar snack on Wednesday evening with the items I had on hand: cottage cheese, sliced apple, and (a very old) Nature's Path Optimum Energy bar crumbled on top. I like this bar+yogurt/cottage cheese idea, because you can change it up so many different ways.
Again, taking cues from your comments, I tried a new breakfast: toast with tahini and agave. Thanks, for the inspiration, Kimberly--it was fabulous! I also had some more blueberries with wheat germ.
My snack before my run consisted of a Cinnamon Raisin Gnu bar and a small apple. Something about this combination totally worked--my average pace was 45 seconds faster than the day before!
I needed a quick lunch afterward, because I had a meeting to attend. I stopped by a campus eatery and grabbed a House Salad: Romaine, carrots, tomatoes, red onion, cranberries, and walnuts. I added my own tofu and dressed it with Bragg's.
After the meeting was out, I was starving--so I needed something quick that wouldn't ruin my dinner: banana with Futter's Almond Butter.
Dinner was entirely spontaneous. First, I sauteed some farmers' market bell peppers in a pan with garlic and chili powder. I also mashed some leftover kidney beans and plopped them onto a halved pita (I don't have any tortillas at the moment). Add some salsa, and you've got a makeshift taco! Plain yogurt with cashew butter made a great sweet ending to the meal.
Every semester I schedule my classes such that I have one weekday off; this way I can actually get laundry and grocery shopping done with some regularity. Anyway, this semester, I have Fridays free. I seized the opportunity to sleep in, squeeze in a morning workout, and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. I just can't get enough scrambled tofu. This one had tahini, Bragg's, and ground ginger. I also had some (slightly overdone) toast and a sliced Granny Smith apple. Top it off with a perusal of The Chronicle, and I'd call it a perfect morning meal.
After multiple trips to Whole Foods (read: forgotten bag of dried cranberries at the cash register...), I was ready for some fuel. When my stomach calls, my creativity goes out the window. So, I just mashed some chickpeas with Nayonaise and Grey Poupon and plopped them onto Ak Maks. Broccoli, almonds, and local white peach finished it off.
I had plans to dine out last night, but we wouldn't be leaving until later in the evening, so I made a quick snack beforehand: plain yogurt with dried cranberries (yes, the forgotten ones) and pistachios.
For dinner, we went to The Cheesecake Factory. Honestly, the best part about CF is its wonderful brown bread. I wish I could buy this stuff in bulk and eat it all the time--it's slightly sweet, and I love the oat topping. I probably ate half the basket...For my entree I ordered a Vegetable Chopped Salad with Romaine, radicchio, edamame, beets, asparagus, and crisp apples. It was on the "small salad" menu, so I asked if they could make it full size, but they couldn't. I don't really understand that--they obviously have the ingredients on hand; can't they just bulk up the portion and charge me more? Sheesh. I was left hungry, so we all ordered dessert. My smoothie obsession took charge because I ordered the Tropical Smoothie, which included pineapple, passionfruit, and coconut. Delish.
After dinner and a movie, I returned to the apartment in need of a bedtime snack. It's probably more habit than anything else, but I must have something in stomach just before sleeping. Last night I chose whole grain graham crackers with cashew butter and a glass of soymilk. Put me right to sleep:)
Well, I am off to run errands and maybe do some homework. Be back tomorrow with a feature post.


VeggieGirl said...

"Did you know that cooking is an excellent mode of procrastination? " More than you would ever know, haha! ;0)

Hooray for Futters Nut Butters!! :0)

This is why I'm glad that The Cheesecake Factory is NOT vegan-friendly - I don't have to worry about dealing with their ridiculous policies!! That's terrible the way they treated you, a customer!! Sheesh, is right.

I always love the presentation of your meals - so pretty!

Happy Saturday!!

sportsnutritionliving said...

Nice job on trying some new foods... and glad you want to join in on the Blogger Secret Ingredient! I got the same thing form cheescake last time i went and i was starving when I got home. I also ordered a side of succotash with it and the plate they gave me was pathetic dried out corn hahah. But ohh their bread is the best!

Lauren said...

You lady bug glass is so cute!

I also don't like to satee with oil (like you i like to get my fats thru things like nuts, pb, etc). How did you satuee your peppers without oil?
What type of pan did you use?

Also, I find in college I am so tired from all the additional expectations (laundry, dishes, homework!, classes, group mettings, grocery, etc) that all I have been eating is pb sandwhiches. I hate doing dishes so this makes my life easy. I have bagged lettuce, but for some reason it just became really unappealling to eat salad. How do you keep yourself eating healthy at school. I have no problem getting all my veggies and fruits in at home, it's when I have to prepare them they lose appeal (my fridge has them, so the issue of access isn't the problem). Hope that makes sense.

Oh and I have given up understanding restaurants policies!

Lauren said...

Sorry, one last thing. I love variety, but find in school since I can only get to the grocery max once a week most fruit goes bad. What type of fruit do you in? How do you shop for one time a week and make it last. Sorry for the gazallions of questions! You just seem so together!

Kimberly said...

Glad you liked it! :) I love the idea of tofu with ginger; I need to try that one of these days. Cheesecake Factory is lame :(

And yay for the Chronicle! My roommate (she's Duke c/o '03) and many of her friends worked on the paper in college, so I've heard many stories about newsroom antics and politics.

Ruby Red Vegan said...

What a wonderful little bedtime snack... It sounds perfect to put you into a nice peaceful sleep. I read somewhere that it's good to have just a little bit in your stomach before you go to bed, enough to keep your metabolism going but not too much that your stomach keeps you awake from having to digest. :)

I wanna try the tahini toast with agave! It sounds delish -- maybe even bedtime snack material...

And I love Bragg on my salads, too!

Poo on The Cheesecake Factory for leaving you hungry. As far as that place goes, and as far as I'm concerned, they need to get themselves some non-dairy cheesecake!!!

eatingbender said...

Haha, anything food related (including blogs!) is definitely an excellent mode of procrastination!

All your new and creations are fabulous! Who knew tahini and agave on bread? I'll have to try that one!

Oh how I love the Cheesecake Factory brown bread. But you're right in that it's really the only thing outstanding about the place - I'm sorry they were so difficult! But yeah...definitely have eaten half the basket AND THEN SOME of that brown bread!

ChickPea said...

VeggieGirl: I can't thank you enough for introducing me to Futter's!
I was a little peeved at the CF that night, but it's one my of friends' favorite restaurants, so I know I'll be back...
SportsNutritionLiving: I'm excited about the secret ingredient this week!
Sounds like the CF is slacking across the country...
Lauren: You can sautee with pretty much any liquid, it just varies in how quickly it cooks off. For this particular dish I used some of the liquid from the salsa jar and a little vinegar (to enhance the acidity of the salsa). You can also use broth, wine, or any vinegars you might like.
I think the key is to choose fruits and veggies that take little to no preparation. I was tempted to buy a cantaloupe last week but didn't because I knew I would never take the time to cut it up.
As for avoiding rotten fruit, you'll notice that I choose relatively stable (and boring fruits) like apples, bananas, and the occasional peach. Berries are more fragile, so you see me eating them, they are likely my roommate's (she always needs help eating her produce before it goes bad!).
Another tip: stock up on frozen fruits and vegetables if you think you can't finish fresh produce before it goes bad. That way, you'll always have fruits and veggies available from your freezer.
Kimberly: That's so cool that your roomie is a Dukie. Sadly, I didn't matriculate as a freshman until 2006, so I don't think I would have met her. The Chron is still known for its shenanigans newsroom shenanigans, however.
Ruby: I def recommend the tahini/agave combo--it kept me full for a while!
How awesome would that be if they started serving a vegan cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory?
EatingBender: What's weird about CF is that its menu is HUGE, but they can't manage to have much healthy fare aside from salads. Bummer. Thank goodness for the bread and desserts!