Sunday, November 30, 2008

Slacker Blogger

Hi, everyone--I hope you're enjoying the last few moments of the holiday weekend. I spent my day waiting around for a very late plane, so I did not return to Durham until a few hours ago. As a result, I (yet again) must bear the label of the "slacker blogger;" I don't think I will have time to write the product reviews I had planned for this evening. I would rather postpone this feature post until further notice--nobody likes a poorly written/thoughtless product review, right? Plus, writing product reviews would provide an excellent excuse for procrastination during reading period next week:)

With any luck, I shall return tomorrow with a re-cap of the weekend's eats!


Friday, November 28, 2008

Another Food-fest Complete

Hello again! I hope everyone had a tasty and restful Thanksgiving yesterday. (For those of you outside the US, I hope you enjoyed your Thursday as well!). I began the day as tradition would predict: I watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade with a mug of hot cider. After a bit of lounging, I got around to a bit of exercise and food preparation, of course. There's nothing like having a day to do exactly what you want to do--in my case, cook a fabulous meal and watch Jon & Kate Plus Eight. How did you all spend your Thursday?

Before turning in, I made a quick smoothie with another one of my favorite fruits: cherries! I combined them with soymilk, hemp protein, and PB granola.

I kicked off the day with another round of Banana Blender Cereal. This time I used a new cereal for me, Publix's Toasted Oatmeal Flakes; I also used Brazil nuts for the nutty component. I was really bummed that this didn't turn out as well as I had hoped:(

After a morning of parade-watching, exercising, and cranberry-cooking, I made a quick stir-fry for lunch. I made a sauce out of agave nectar, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic and combined it with mango chunks, red bell pepper, mushrooms, tofu, and garlic noodles. Chopped almonds topped it all off, and I served it all alongside a salad with sweet Vidalia dressing that I found in the fridge.

Once mealtime came around, I prepared a last-minute appetizer plate for the crowd: sun-dried tomato hummus with fresh cut veggies and Triscuits with cheese cut-outs.
The big meal consisted of a
Quorn Turk'y Roast with vegetarian gravy, salad, cranberry sauce, steamed broccoli, and stuffing. The salad was a random creation of mine, featuring field greens, currants, and walnuts. The cranberry sauce was another one of my contributions. Although I normally sweeten it with agave nectar, I opted for brown sugar last night to appease all the palates present; other components include vanilla and cinnamon stick.

The stuffing presented a challenge this year: my mom always prepares it from a specific mix, but I happened to notice that this particular mix contained trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Not cool. Instead, I suggested the Whole Foods brand (see below). Mom was nice enough not only to acquiesce to my request but also to prepare it with vegetable broth (instead of chicken) so that I could enjoy some. Thanks, Mom!
A few hours later, my stomach had deflated enough to enjoy some vegan pumpkin pudding that I had prepared earlier in the day. I adapted it from
CCV's Apple Pie Pudding. Yummy stuff but still second-best to Mom's (non-vegan) version!

I still made room for my smoothie last night. I combined peaches, cinnamon, soymilk, hemp protein, and PB granola.


I woke up this morning ready for some shopping. I needed plenty of fuel to help me navigate through the crowds, so I prepared a classic tofu scramble with tahini, soy sauce, ginger, turmeric, mushrooms, and red bell peppers. On the side, I had some toast and a sliced kiwi.

We returned home early enough so that I could watch the Duke-Duquesne game on TV. I enjoyed watching another Duke victory while munching on a Turk'y salad wrap, which was comprised of leftover Turk'y, celery, vegan mayo, walnuts, currants, curry powder, mustard, and agave nectar. SO GOOD. Along with it, I had a salad with Clementine segments…and another Clementine.
I don't often share snacks with you all, but I had an exceptionally tasty afternoon snack today: plain yogurt with stevia, cranberry sauce, and raw almonds. So nutritious and delicious! In the spirit of harvest-time coming to an end, I decided to roast an acorn squash for dinner. I seasoned it with herbes de provence and S+P, then stuffed it with leftover stuffing and topped it off with toasted cashews. To round it out, I had some garlic-spiked spinach and cinnamon-y cottage cheese. Doesn't the squash half look a little bit like a heart?
I am off to enjoy a holiday movie, likely Elf or Home Alone. What's your favorite holiday movie?

I will leave you with a few pictures of our oh-so-elegant table setting:

Be back soon!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Boxers and Brazil Nuts!

My first few days at home have been nothing but relaxing! The first half of the week has been filled with my favorite activities, including breakfast at the Original Pancake House, a trip to Whole Foods, and a quick jaunt through the Christmas section at Target...and that was just Tuesday! Today's schedule consisted of a trip to a dog breeder where we visited my sister's future boxer pup (to be brought home in just two weeks!). On the way home, we also stopped into an Amish bakery, where I loaded up on some truly unique goodies. Check it out:
What you see above: sticky buns, caramel cake, real vanilla extract, honey butter (not actually butter), Amish Style PB, Brazil nuts (for the low price of $3.50/lb!), BBQ seasoning, and paprika.

Here are a few shots of the bread aisle and the entire case filled with pies!
I am most excited about this little gem. I love how the labels say "Praise the Lord."
*Sigh* I love being home.

Anyway, here's what I've been munching on lately.

After I signed off last time, I was happy to discover one last chocolate soy protein packet, plus an assortment of frozen fruit in the freezer. This tasty mixture featured a frozen banana, blueberries, and almond milk, topped with some chocolate syrup (that promptly sank to the bottom). Delish.
As I mentioned earlier, I had breakfast at the Original Pancake House with my dad and one of his students (hi Josh!). I ordered a big bowl of oatmeal and a side of fruit to which I added some brown sugar. No picture this time.

The afternoon was occupied by grocery shopping and running errands with Mom, so I was famished by the time I sat down to lunch. I found a packet of taco seasoning in the cupboard, so I combined a few teaspoons of that with TVP and diced tomatoes; I placed the mixture atop a bed of mixed greens. I realize it looks like a nice plate of up-chuck, but I swear it tasted good. On the side, I had an apple, tortilla wedges, and some cashew butter.

For dinner, I made a simple recipe that I have been meaning to try for a while: Peanut Butter Noodles. I subscribe to the Vegan a Go Go podcasts on iTunes, and I knew I had to try this recipe when I saw it. I'll use any excuse I can to eat more PB:) I added broccoli and a few shredded carrots for some color and nutrition. I also had a salad and a dish of plain yogurt with ginger, cloves, stevia, cinnamon, nutmeg, and wheat germ for dessert. Yum.
The smoothie last night was the return of an old favorite: mango and hemp!! Unfortunately, using the unflavored hemp instead of the Vanilla Spice made this rendition a little less heavenly. Oh well, the peanut butter granola on top made up for it!
Just before heading out to visit the pups, I made a quick breakfast inspired by Lindsay. I spread whole wheat toast with cinnamon raisin PB and homemade pumpkin butter. I also had two clementines and a dish of plain yogurt with more pumpkin and lots of spices. This made for quite the orange meal! Random side note: Does anyone else share my obsessive need to peel clementines in one piece? (see below)
Upon returning home, I made a quick lunch from pantry staples: sun-dried tomato hummus with mushrooms and tomatoes in a hearty whole wheat pita, a salad with Goddess dressing, plus a sliced kiwi.
I was just itching to use some of my new goodies, so I incorporated a few into my dinner tonight. First, I dredged some tofu slabs in my new BBQ seasoning; I used it like a spice rub. Then, I made a sauce inspired by the BBQ sauce from Veganomicon and smothered the tofu with it. After a few minutes in the oven, I had a delicious meal! I served the tofu alongside a salad with my new Brazil nuts, Brussels sprouts, plus a whole grain English muffin. Yum.
I just finished a sweet treat: an apple with Amish Style PB. I Googled "Amish Style PB," and apparently it consists of marshmallow creme and corn syrup combined with good ol' peanut butter. Not exactly nutritious, but tasty nonetheless.
Lastly, I want to thank Flower for giving me a Butterfly Award! I am so honored that you thought of me for this award. Rather than single-handedly choosing 10 bloggers to whom I can pass on the award, I would like to turn it over to you: who are your favorite bloggers and why?

Another marathon post draws to a close...Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Back to Be Babied

I have returned to Birmingham for Thanksgiving, and I am so glad. My weekend presented some unexpected emotional escapades, so I was ready for a big hug from Mommy. Hopefully, a week of family and food (two of my most favorite things!) will prove to be just the remedy for my wounded heart.

The past few days have been filled with last-minute meetings before the break, basketball games, and delayed flights. As a result, my meals continue to consist of simple standards. Let the week of culinary creativity begin!

A peaches 'n cream shake! I combined frozen peaches, cinnamon, vanilla So Delicious, Nutribody protein, and soymilk. What a perfect way to celebrate Duke's win over Michigan!
One of my favorite winter-time breakfasts last year was heated shredded wheat; I stole the idea from a Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats commercial. to indulge this cold-weather craving, I treated myself to a box of Autumn Wheat at Whole Foods on Friday. For this breakfast, I heated the tasty little squares with rice milk, and I served it alongside an apple with almond butter.
For lunch, I tried out a new variety of Amy's burgers, the Texas burger. I enjoyed this one on a whole wheat sandwich thin with salsa and hot sauce. On the side, I had a salad with Annie's Goddess dressing, plus a banana.
Dinner was spent out at a place called Piazza Italia, where I had spaghetti with puttanesca sauce and vegetables. I apologize for the lack of picture, but I assure you that it was delicious!

This was my attempt at green oats, but I am not happy with the results--the color is not nearly vibrant enough! I made applesauce oats and topped it with a broken up pistachio Larabar. Tasty, but not quite the taste of the rainbow I had intended.
After another basketball game (and another victory!), I prepared a simple hummus sandwich with a salad and a banana with almond butter. Yawn.
I had several sorority-related events to attend in the evening, but I managed to make the evening meal a tad more interesting than lunch. I cooked red onion and zucchini with ginger and peanut sauce, then added some frozen shelled edamame for protein. I also had some plain yogurt with the rest of my pom seeds--gotta use up those leftovers!The smoothie of the evening was a classic: strawberries, banana, Nutribody protein, and soymilk. Can't go wrong with that.
My cereal this morning ended up being an alternative form of raisin bran: I combined spelt flakes with currants, rice milk, and wheat germ. On the side I had a banana with almond butter.
I had to work quickly for lunch; my cab was coming at any minute. A sliced apple, Sunbutter, pita, carrots, and a blob of hummus made for the perfect mix-and-match meal. I tried the hummus on the apple, Sunbutter on the carrots, lots of tasty combinations here!
When I finally returned home, I made a quick dinner out of a lonely Sunshine burger in the freezer on a wheat bun, plus steamed veggies, a salad, and a vanilla Greek yogurt. Random, but delicious.
Now, I am off the attack the depths of the freezer for my evening shake. Keep your fingers crossed that I'll find some frozen fruit!