Monday, December 15, 2008

All Wrapped Up

Today has been all about wrapping--my mom and dad have both been so busy this holiday season that they asked me to wrap a few gifts for them today. In addition, I gathered and packaged up my gift for the Food Blogger Secret Santa. After much cutting, taping, and bow-tying, I am pooped. I never thought a day of dressing up packages could be so tiring!

Things are also "all wrapped up" here because my sisters have both graduated! Congratulations to Lea on receiving her MBA and to Katie for her degree in nursing! My dad also walked in graduation due to his position as a professor at UAB. Here are a few pictures from our weekend of academic celebration:
Anyway, here's what fueled me through my first weekend at home:

My welcome-home smoothie was fantastic! I miss having frozen cherries around--they don't sell them at my Whole Foods in Durham. Anyway, this concoction included cherries, cherry Spirutein, soymilk, and wheat germ. Delish.
As I've mentioned before, my go-to breakfast when I'm in a rush is always a smoothie and a bagel with nut butter. Amidst my mad search for my left shoe and frenzied makeup application, I didn't have much time for I had a strawberry-almond milk smoothie with wheat germ, plus a Rudi's sweet wheat bagel with almond butter. (PS You have no idea how excited I was when I finally discovered these bagels at my local health food store...I can't wait to try the cinnamon raisin variety!).
Once home from Katie's ceremony, we barely had enough time to grab lunch. I packed a simple meal to bring along in my purse: a Tofurky sammie with dijon mustard, cherry tomatoes, apple slices, and peanuts.
The whole family had a celebration dinner at a local Italian eatery, Leonardo's. Our party consisted of a whopping 13 people! Nonetheless, the wait staff handled our large party with ease. The rosemary rolls that arrived first were delicious--still warm from the oven and slightly sweet. Everyone was also served a standard garden salad. Among the entrees, there were very few vegetarian options, but I was moderately enticed by what I ordered: angel hair with olives, tomatoes, and basil. The menu stated that the dish would arrive with "a sprinkle" of asiago cheese. Ha! As the picture demonstrates, their idea of "a sprinkle" and mine are quite different. I apologize for the dark pictures--a flash would have ruined the ambiance, for sure!
As you might expect, I saved room for my evening smoothie. This time I combined more cherries, blackberries, berry hemp protein (Nutiva), soymilk, and peanut butter granola.
Just before heading off to church, I made a quick breakfast out of Publix Oatmeal Flakes (my new favorite cereal!), TJ's blueberry flax, and rice milk, plus some clementines on the side. I enjoyed reading the Christmas-y Sunday paper as I ate.
I had a lunch that you've all seen before: a lentil veggie wrap. I spread the rest of my delicious lentil dip (which I first ate here) on a tortilla with mushrooms, tomatoes, and carrots. On the side, I had a salad with Woodstock dressing and an apple. Yum!
My culinary skills were markedly absent from dinner as well, as I just had a Sunshine burger on whole wheat with salsa, brussels sprouts, squash, and salad. I agree with VeggieGirl, Sunshine burgers are quite possibly the best veggie burgers on the market!
The smoothie of evening featured one of my favorite flavor combinations: vanilla and mango! I combined mango, vanilla soy protein, soymilk, and peanut butter granola. This was good, but not quite as heavenly as when I use my Living Harvest vanilla hemp.
One of the luxuries of home is that I can treat myself to Greek yogurt--Fage is often just too expensive for me to buy for myself! I took advantage of my little treat this morning by mixing 0% Fage with flax seed, cinnamon, and stevia. I put a dollop of this mixture and some fresh blackberries atop some Van's waffles.
For lunch, I derived inspiration from Kath's curried chicken salad. Obviously, I made a few substitutions, using tofu instead of chicken, walnuts instead of pecans, vegan mayo for the yogurt/regular mayo, etc. I placed the mixture atop a bed of greens and served it alongside some All Bran crackers, and a sliced apple. For all you vegans out there: the All Bran crackers are far from natural, but they are vegan, unlike Kashi's TLCs.
Tonight's dinner was a new recipe for me from ED&BV. Yes, I actually ventured outside my cashew-ginger tofu obsession. This evening's recipe was the Thai Chick-Un Pizza. Again, I had to make a few substitutions due to ingredient limitations, but the flavors were still delicious! I forgot to add the pineapple on the pizza, so I used it on top of my salad, along with leftover chickpeas and the last of the Thai pizza sauce. I love how unique (and tasty!) this recipe is--I will definitely be making this dish again. PS The Santa salt & pepper shakers wanted a chance to be seen on the blog--cute, no?
I am headed to the mall for some Christmas shopping tomorrow. I still need to buy something for each of my sisters and my dad. Have you finished your shopping yet? Which gift are you most excited about giving this year?

Wishing you all a pleasant Monday:)


magpie said...

I love all the apples :) Your food all looks so appetizing. I'm hungry now!

Anonymous said...

WE did have a similar breakfast- yum! I'm supa excited about a black and white photo-collage thing i'm making for mom...i know she'll like it a lot more than anything store bought, and it's easy on my budget too, double score!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to both of your sisters and your dad - what a weekend of academic excellence!

I did a lot of wrapping today, too - love the Food Blogger Secret Santa!

Those Rudi's bagels sound great - and all of your smoothies look amazing, as always. I need to go to TJ's and get some of that blueberry flax - it sounds so good!

The Santa S&P shakers are very cute :o) I think the gift that I am most excited to give this year might just be the blogger secret Santa - mainly because I'd like to think I know what to give a "foodie" ;o) But my brother's present is going to be pretty cool, too!

Good luck with the Christmas shopping!

Erica said...

Congrats to your sisters! You have such a cute family!

Love love all the food. Reminds me to eat more fruit ;)

Gift I'm most excited to give hmmmm- I'm more excited about the food I will be bringing with me to my inlaws than the gifts ;)

Anonymous said...

Everything looks beautiful, as it always does, BUT I have to say WASSUP to the sunshine burgers, which are amazing!
We're doing donations in lieu of gifts this year. It feels good, but weird ta the same time!

Anonymous said...

Yummy, your "chicken salad" and pizza look amazing! Ooo and those blackberries on the waffles do too!

Congratulations to your sister!!! =)

Bridget said...

I've never seen that brand of veggie burger but it looks awesome!! Congrats to your sister. All your eats look delicious.

K said...

Congrats to your sister!! LOVE your blue coat - sup-ah cute!

Great eats as always! Rudi's cinnamon raisin are DELICIOUS!! I eat them with a laughing cow and it's total yum in my mouth :)

Cute S&P shakers!

VeggieGirl said...

Hooray for gift-wrapping!!

Congratulations to your sisters and dad!! So fabulous and rewarding.

Love your pink & green smoothie glass!! And the contents inside, of course ;-)

Damn, that's a hell of a "sprinkle" of cheese!! The chef got a little happy with it, it seems, haha.

Hooray for Sunshine burgers!! And thank you for the shout-out :-)

Cute S&P shakers!! So festive.

I'm most excited to give my handmade/homemade gifts out.

Courtney (Eat The Whole Thing) said...

Sounds like you are having a nice time at home! Yummy looking meals too! I'm lovin' those smoothies!

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh, I am SO far from done Christmas shopping it's upsetting.
Oh well.
I love the shot of all the graduation-lunch food laid out on your cutting board for some reason! And those waffles look delicious too...I haven't had waffles in forever.

Ruby Red Vegan said...

Congrats on the end of school and getting to go home! Your Thai pizza looks fabulous -- I trust that it is great, coming from ED&BV, though I haven't yet tried the recipe. Mmm! Looks like I also need to try some product suggestions of yours and VeggieGirl's, since the Living Harvest hemp protein and Sunshine burgers sound too delicious to resist much longer.

Relax and enjoy your week!

sarah said...

congrats to your whole family, how exciting!

Rudi's bagels are seriously THE BEST. I haven't tried the cinnamon raisin ones yet but next time I see them I'm definitely going to-if they're anywhere near as good as cin-raisin ezekials I'll be happy!

i spy a waffle tower ; )

Catherine said...

Love all the eats... especially that Thai Chick-Un Pizza!!

Hmm, I think I'm most excited about my gift for my sister & her husband. I compiled a cookbook using recipes from all of their friends and family. :)

ChickPea said...

Magpie: Thanks!
CarolineBee: Your gift for your mom sounds so thoughtful--I am sure she'll love it!
EatingBender: I am so excited about the Secret Santa too!
The blueberry flax is great--I highly recommend it. I plan on stocking up next time I visit Chicago.
Erica: I have been on a fruit kick lately--Sam's had blackberries for a great price, and I picked up a big bag of apples too!
I tend to get more excited about the food than gifts too:)
Erin: I have tried only the Garden Herb flavor...have you tried the others? I like your idea of giving donations rather than gifts--it reminds us all of what Christmas is all about.
Shelby: Thanks! I'm glad you like the eats.
Bridget: I highly recommend the Sunshine burgers!
K: Thanks! I've been collecting colorful coats for about 4 years now, so it's kind of my "signature" clothing item.
Oooh! Cinnamon raisin +LC sounds fab.
VeggieGirl: Thanks for noticing my smoothie glass! I just found it in the cupboard--it's the perfect size!
I hope you post about your amazing handmade gifts!
Courtney: You're probably on your way home now--I hope you enjoy your break too!
Ruby: I hope your break is near as well, so that you can try the Thai pizza! I def recommend the Living Harvest and Sunshine burgers--both great products (not together, of course!).
Sarah: I haven't tried any Ezekiel products other than the tortillas and pitas, so maybe I should try their English muffins too? Haha, yes that IS a waffle tower:)
Catherine: I LOVE your gift idea--that is so thoughtful and useful, the perfect combination!

Mrs. LC said...

I'm so glad I just found your blog! I can't wait to read more. :)

All your smoothies look and sound absolutely amazing.

We have Publixes near me, I'm definitely going to look for the oatmeal flakes you mentioned!