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Archive for October, 2010

You choose an apartment based on optimal lighting for food photos…

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Your first Netflix movie selection is Food Inc…

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You miss weddings for food festivals…

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Water and power outages affect your food prep and meal planning more than your acts of daily living (i.e. showering)…

New food products generate more enthusiasm than "normal" things (like birthdays)…

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"Battery card full" may as well mean "you will be eating a cold dish” (aka “don’t touch this food until I free up space")…

You are ecstatic over the return of a $4 fermented culture-filled drink…

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Your ONLY instructions for your wedding photographer were make sure you get photos of the food

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You ordered a personal wedding cupcake from Whole Foods

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Your wedding centerpieces were made with food

 

You salvage food that others would throw away…

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You start planning dinner before you’ve even finished lunch breakfast…

 

Now your turn!  Finish this sentence: You know you’re a food blogger/foodie when…

***Still taking entries for my $$-in-your-pocket giveaway until Monday (11/1) night so get your entries in asap!***

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On my days off, I like to sleep in.  The first thing I do upon waking up is wash my face and brush my teeth.  But less than a second after, I make coffee.

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After that I water my babies. 

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Then, I set up shop on our dining room chairs and read blogs, write, and do whatever internet related errands I’ve put off for the past few days.

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All while enjoying coffee. 

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Coffee topped with froth and cocoa, to be exact.  At least, that’s what I did on Friday.

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I also had the last piece of my pumpkin banana bread.  It’s created quite the buzz in the blogworld, which is evidence enough of how tasty it is…but in case you still don’t believe me, how’s this for a glamour shot.

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I drizzled creamy peanut butter on top of the warm heel piece.  While I’m sad this loaf is gone, I still have the other loaf in the freezer to enjoy in the coming week (hooray!).  I try to make extra portions of my meals, baked goods, just about anything and everything to freeze and save.  It’s especially helpful during the work week, to have already prepared, home-cooked food, that requires nothing more than a quick session in the microwave.  Easy peasy. 

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Lunch was a different kind of sammie. 

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Layers of fall and breakfast.

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You see, I had some fall items on hand, but wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to the AM part of the day…

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…hence the breakfast ingredients in the sandwich.

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Daiya love it?  I do.  I also love avocado. 

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This was the weirdest avocado I’ve ever seen.  When I tried to split it open, the entire skin came off the one side, leaving the fruit in tact.  As a result, I had a tough time slicing it, and resorted to using the entire top portion.

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One half avocado, one half winter squash.  This frikin’ gourd was the most impossible thing to cook by the way.  I went to desperate places, involving Halloween-inspired knife maneuvers, multiple microwave intervals, and quite a bit of sweat.  I actually gave up half way through the first time I tried cooking it.

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[Photo evidence]  I seriously couldn’t get the knife out of the dang gourd for a few hours.  And since I was starving at the time, I gave up and came back to it the next day. 

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After a few different sessions on the microwave, I was finally able to get the knife through it. 

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And look how pathetic the yield was?  That little amount of flesh was hardly worth the effort.  In other words, this may be my last gourd purchase.

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Cool looking?  Affirmative.  Worth it?  Negative. 

But because I am persistent above all else, I vowed to use it in some way.  Thus, the following sandwich. 

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After caking each half with avo and gourd guts, I topped it with an egg and vegan cheese.

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Fall breakfast sandwich

  • 1/2 avocado
  • winter squash, mashed (ie butternut, delicata, chayote, etc.)
  • 1 egg, sunny side up
  • Daiya cheddar cheese (or whatever cheese you want)
  • sprouted bread (I used Ezekiel 7 grain)

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Fold the egg, give the bread a quick smoosh, and dig in. 

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I usually cut my sammies in half to make them easier to eat.  Heaven forbid the ingredients slide out…

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And I always eat the smaller half first, because that way once I’m done I don’t get sad, because I still have the BIGGER half left.  I’m a freak, I know. 

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This sando was good, but next time I will use a different squash.  Maybe one that doesn’t require 2 days of prep?

I ended lunch on a sweet note.  An extra special one, at that. 

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OH. MY. PEAS.

To say this was a treat would be an understatement.  So where did this delicious looking cookie come from?

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I thought this family couldn’t get any cuter, but I was wrong. 

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Mama Pea you have outdone yourself…  The cookies are light, moist, and flavorful.  Not too crumbly, not too chewy, but rather a perfect hybrid of both characteristics.  There was a subtle ginger flavor, which I loved, but the outer sugar crystals were the best part.  And somehow they weren’t overly sweet either.  Brilliant!

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I have no doubt Mama Pea’s imminent cookbook is going to be a huge success.  After tasting this recipe, I’m beyond thrilled for it’s release.  Her reci-peas are gonna be the next best thing since sliced bread Ezekiel english muffins. 

After digesting another cookie and a half :)  I went for a run.  I try not to force exercise in on work days (unless I feel up to it), because I have way more energy on my days off and I prefer saving it for a more productive session.  I think that pushing myself to do a half-a$$ workout when I don’t have much energy is pointless.  Even if this philosophy means fewer workouts and less time exercising as a whole, I’m pretty sure my body gets way more out of a workout when I’m giving 100%.  Granted I’m not doing the kind of mileage that really requires recovery time, but I’m sure the days off don’t hurt with that either. 

Post run (and post shower), I had some vegan fudge.  Then Ethel came over and we went for a romantic stroll. 

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We enjoyed the sunset from Ocean Ave, and then walked back to la casita.  On the way home this happened:

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Ick.  How gross am I for showing my foot on the blog?  The blood just wouldn’t stop.  Rather than freak out, I couldn’t help but brag at how vascular my toe was.  What seemed like a simple stub looked like a Dexter-esque blow.  My hands and feet are almost always 15 degrees cooler than my body’s core temp, so I sometimes worry that I have crappy circulation.  But this blood-fest confirms it – I’m a very vascualr girl.  If I had diabetes or if I smoked my toe would’ve produced maybe a drop…but no…I’m a healthy bleeder.  Perhaps I’ve taken my cardiac nursing too far…

Back to the food.

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WF prepared eats!!!

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The end of the work week needs to be celebrated, right?  Ok, ok, so I didn’t even work on Friday…whatever…any excuse will do. 

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I got the tofu fumi salad and Asian sesame tofu too. 

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So greasy! 

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Ordinarily, WF is know for it’s fresh, local, organic, clean prepared eats, but let’s not forget they have perfectly delicious hangover food too.  Not that I was hungover while eating this, but that’s kinda the genre I put certain foods in.  And Whole Foods’ prepared tofu is the perfect meal when you are craving super greasy Chinese food (which – and I’m sorry to make this association – is sometimes a post-boozing necessity).  While still insanely oily, it’s a good alternative to a generic Chinese take-out order.  I mean, for one, there’s no MSG, plus, there’s no hydrogenated nastiness, unhealthy oils, and the produce involved in the fumi salad is quality produce.

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After dinner, Ethel got out her goods for a major girly night. 

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My toe finally stopped bleeding enough for her to give me a pedicure.  Now that’s a good friend!!

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Plus my fingies.  I’m in a purple phase. 

***********************

Ok, so now, about the post title…(yes, it’s a giveaway)!

CSN has generously offered to give one HHH reader $65 to use on any of their goods (which is pretty sweet considering they have everything under the sun available).  Check it out for yourself, CSN Stores literally has anything you could ever want, with over 1 million products and 200+ online stores…it’s basically free money in your pocket.

I will announce the winner Monday evening (Nov. 1st), so get your entries in stat!

The only thing you have to do to enter is comment telling me your favorite thing to do on your day off. 

*Bonus entry for tweeting the giveaway and then commenting here to tell me you did so. 

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On our second day in Kauai, we decided to venture to another part of the island for a hike. 

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The weather was on and off drizzle and rain, so it’s a good thing we didn’t go with the convertible rental… 

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Nature lovers.

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Waimea Canyon was breathtaking.  I’ve never seen a canyon before and it was a pretty cool phenomenon.  At 10 miles long, 1 mile wide, and more than 3,500 feet deep, it is the largest canyon in the Pacific and truly a dramatic sight.  But almost as thrilling was the number of roosters.  It was insane. 

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They were everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  The one on the right was nicknamed “the James Brown bird” by Kyle.  It was definitely the most over-the-top-decorated of them all…

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I definitely enjoyed playing with my camera settings.  🙂

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After a mellow 1 mile hike, we found ourselves ready for lunch.

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After a scenic drive back to Poipu, we arrived at Brennecke’s Beach Broiler.  It’s located above a shop full of touristy knick knacks. 

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Cheesy decor?  Yes.  But the view makes the kitschy scene worth it.

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Not too shabby, right?

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Don’t mind if I do. 

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Both of our lunches were mahi mahi themed…tacos and a burger.  Both came with black beans and mexican rice on the side, plus some salsa and guacamole

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After lunch we lazed around the hotel pool.  Is that a word, “lazed”?  I’m not sure, but in any case, I’m rolling with it.  “To laze” as in “to be idle” aka “to sloth it up.”

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This pool is different from the one we were at the previous day.  It was called the “adult pool” which felt creepy and a bit “Rock of Love,” but it was both chlorinated and empty when we were there (read: safe and sterile). 

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Dinner was another room service meal, which we enjoyed on our porch again. 

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I got the same fish as last time, while Kyle mixed it up and got steak (or whatever cut of beef that is…I really don’t know). 

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After dinner we walked the hotel grounds, sipped drinks at the bar, and played some pool…and eventually returned to the room for Dexter (yes, we bought both seasons 1 & 2 on iTunes for the honeymoon) and dessert. 

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I know I’ve mentioned it before, but Kyle loves chocolate more than anyone I’ve ever met.  Ever.  These are only a few photos from a mega montage…he’s going to kill me for posting these but they are too funny. 

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"You could put milk chocolate around a fart and it would taste good" – Kyle (while savoring his chocolate macadamia nuts)

Sexy. 

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My morning started with this newbie.

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To me, “Au Naturel”…is the classy way of saying “hippie food”…so clearly this was right up my alley. 

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Like the rest of Udi’s products, this granola is gluten free.  It also happens to be dairy free, soy free, nut free, and egg free (it’s is not vegan because it contains honey).

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The only ingredients are certified gluten free oats, wildflower honey and canola oil.  That’s it!  THREE ingredients.  No wonder they call it Au Naturel…

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I packed myself a tupperware full of granola to add to my (unpictured) plain greek yogurt for my work breakfast. 

The flavor was simple, but good.  It had that signature crunch that tasted toasted, and not the least bit stale.  I like my granola crunchy because then it has the ability to be used for many things.  If you want to soak it in milk, it can soften up like oats and be enjoyed like cereal, but if you want to eat it with greek yogurt or add it into a trail mix, it’s definitely better to have a more crunchy consistency.  What’s your favorite way to eat granola?

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The rest of my pre-packed eats included an apple, carrots, and big salad…plus an unpictured tub of hummus and (aforementioned) greek yogurt

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Love me a kale-face salad.  It had kale, avocado, bell peppers, carrots, and dried cranberries.

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Que grande!

Work was work, nothing too thrilling about it, but I am so excited to officially be done with orientation.  Starting next week I will be nursing for real.  For real for real.  Having patients.  Finally!  Yesssss. 

I got home from work in the afternoon, so I made use of my Udi’s gluten free granola – this time jazzing it up with carob chips, raisins, and salty roasted nuts

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Trail mix at it’s finest.  I refilled this tupperware more than once ;)  It was too tasty!  As a result, I was not remotely hungry once dinnertime rolled around.  Instead of making a meal, I decided to make a smoothie.  Not just an ordinary smoothie though.  A tofu & protein powder based treat that was so delicious, it could have passed as dessert, but was still nutrient dense enough to pass as dinner. 

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I know there are many pumpkin recipes going around the blog world right now (with everything from baked goods, to lattes, to hearty entrees), so I’m sure my inspiration came from many of them.  But in terms of following a recipe, I just winged it based on what I had on-hand.  In the end it tasted JUST like pumpkin pie, so I will show you exactly what I put in.

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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious coconut milk)
  • 1/2 block (6 oz.) silken tofu (I used Mori-Nu light)
  • 3/4 cup (~1/2 can) pumpkin puree (I used Libby’s)
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  • 1 serving vanilla protein powder of choice (I used Vega vanilla chai)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (I used a lot more)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (I used ~4 drops of NuNaturals vanilla stevia)
  • sweetener of choice* (I used ~2 tbsp agave nectar because I like things sweeeeeeeet)
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes

*optional depending on how sweet you want your pie smoothie

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Blend away.

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It was eerie how similar to actual pumpkin pie this tasted.  Even Kyle was blown away, and he’s a pie fiend.  He also said it was perfect if you have a sweet tooth (guilty!). 

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This smoothie recipe may cause me to buy stock in Libby’s.  I’m going to be having this every day from now until I can’t find anymore canned pumpkin. 

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Mmmmmm.

Before I sign off to enjoy the gorgeous weather goin on right now, I want to be sure you all click this link to vote for my girl Kailey…she’s the diva of all divas and 100% deserves this job.  So go to the site and help her win the opportunity to do what she loves (while getting a paycheck).

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Thanks to random.org, a winner has been chosen for the Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil

Congrats to Jenna, who said “Happy birthday! I’d use the coconut oil to put on baked sweet potatoes (so good) and in baking!!” 

Email me with your address and I’ll be sure the oil gets to you.  I know you’ll put it to good use.  :) 

I have another giveaway planned for tomorrow, so set your alarms.

As for yesterday, ‘twas another day at orientation…

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And, thus, another pre-packed lunch…

Starting with a salad and leftover pizza.

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The salad had spinach, bell peppers, carrots, and raisins with an EVOO/lemon juice/agave/chili powder dressing. 

I also had two bars.  First up was the Blueberry Coconut Supercharger PranaBar

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Ok, it’s official.  There are no better bars on the market.  Sorry Clif, sorry Larabar, sorry Odwalla, it’s just a fact.  Every single PranaBar is more delicious than the one before it.  This was only slightly blueberry flavored, with a whole lotta coconut.  Like the other PranaBars, the texture wasn’t nutty at all, it was gooey (but not in a bad way).  Just perfect.  And look at those stats? 

Organic.  Non-GMO.  Soy free.  Dairy free.  No sugar added.  Gluten free.  Vegan. 

In other words: Real ingredients.  Real food.  No crap. 

It really doesn’t get better than that.

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The second bar I packed was a mini Clif Mountain Mix MoJo bar.  I had one of these little guys leftover from a 10K in Sept (love race freebies!).  It was okay, but was way too tiny to do anything real for my hunger.  I do love the salty/sweet combo in bars though. 

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All together now. 

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I got off work at 4 and since it was unexpected, I wasn’t sure if I should head to the gym, or go home first and then work out.  I was feeling pretty energetic so I ultimately decided to hit up the gym (I had my workout gear packed up just in case). 

I know I said I wasn’t going to join a gym now that I am back in sunny CA (where the weather is rarely an excuse to skip a jog on the beach).  The reason I changed my mind was because the price to join the gym was too good to pass up.  And because of where I work, I am hooked up with pretty good perks.  And because Kyle and I are married, my membership rate is even lower.  And because I am a sucker for a good deal, I made the plunge on Monday and joined.  $50 for the whole year is pretty unreal though, right?  And it’s a block from the hospital. 

One thing I may have failed to realize was the popularity of this gym.  Normally I won’t be getting off work at 4 pm (during peak hours), so this won’t really matter, but this trip was pretty crowded.  I did 15 minutes on the step machine thingy (I have no clue what it’s called) before I gave up on the other cardio equipment freeing up.  Instead, I ran to the track and did one lap (1/4 mile) intervals separated by steeple bleacher chases.  I only lasted 15 minutes and then called it a day.

Even though today’s trip to the gym didn’t work out, I know I’ll be really glad to have the option later.  Once my regular job hours start (next week), I’ll be doing 12 hour shifts, and getting off really early or really late.  Not ideal for outside running…enter gym membership.  :)  Do you belong to a gym?  How much are you willing to pay for it? 

On my drive home I contemplated what to make for dinner.  There was only one thing that sounded good though…

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Peanut butter. 

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Not very thrilling, huh?  I know, sorry. 

I had two apples, two pieces of Ezekiel bread, and 10 (unpictured) medjool dates…all dressed up in nut buttery goodness.

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Sometimes simple is best. 

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After all that carbage (not to be confused with garbage), I felt like some crunch.

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Carrots & baby bell pepps…I’m gonna be glowing after all the B-carotene up in hurrr.

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With the veg, I served up some home-made hummus with some serioussss height. 

I wasn’t hungry for dessert, but I did want a fizzy somethin’ somethin’ to help calm my stomach. 

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Ginger lovin’ by Synergy did just the trick.  I am way too obsessed with Kombucha.  My finances can’t afford this habit. 

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Italiano

For dinner I had pie on the brain.

Pizza pie.

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Luckily I had a pre-made crust by Udi’s gluten free foods ready to go…thus reducing my prep time to under 30 minutes.  Rachel Ray, you’ve got some competition.

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Udi’s provided me with the gluten free goods to review on the blog.  In addition to being gluten free, they are also dairy free, soy free, and nut free.  Basically, they are devoid of almost every common allergen.

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They are thinner than the typical pizza crust, but just as soft and doughy.

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These were my toppings of choice…

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Layer 1: WF organic tomato sauce

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Layer 2: baby bell peppers

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Layer 3: Red Star nutritional yeast

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Layer 4: Garlic Gold nuggets

Oven time: 13 minutes.  [350 degrees]

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The crust browned up just like you want, while still remaining soft and chewy.  The edges weren’t too crispy, but that’s because I was afraid of burning the crust.  A few extra minutes in the oven probably would’ve made it a bit harder.  As it was, I totally loved it.

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Doesn’t this just look like Italian perfection?  They are all about the thin crusts, so I’m thinking this vegan, gluten-free version could give the real deal a run for it’s money.

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I cut myself a couple slices of pizza pie…you have to say that with an Italian accent.

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And in case you were concerned (although, I doubt you were) I got my serving of veggies in with a spinach salad a la mode.

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My two “slices” were a bit generous (read: half the pizza).

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The salad had spinach, bell peppers, carrots, avocado, and dried cranberries with copious amounts of Bragg’s liquid aminos on top.

After last week’s green-less nutbutter & carb-fest, my body seems to be evening out in terms of it’s cravings.  I have been wanting salads for almost every meal, whether or not they are the main course.  Maybe there’s something to be said for listening to your body, eh?  When all is said and done, the highs and the lows all seem to result in a steady average (the tricky part is having the confidence in such and listening to your body without doubting it along the way…easier said than done…but I think I’m getting pretty savvy at it).

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Udi’s gluten-free pizza crusts were definitely better than I expected.  When I first saw the crusts I figured they would be like a tortilla and not very pizza-like at all.  Not that I’m a pro on pizzas.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  I’m not a huge fan of most Italian food, but especially pizza.  I’ve been lactose intolerant for nearly half my life, so it’s not a food I regularly eat given the dairy issue.  So if you asked me how I preferred my pie, I don’t think I could’ve told you.  Chicago style, deep dish, New York, thin crust…no idea.

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Like I alluded to before, the crusts were on the thinner side, so I was afraid the slices wouldn’t stay firm when you picked them up by the edge (which is the mark of a true pizza vs. an open-faced wrap).  I’m happy to report that I was wrong!  Somehow they were both doughy, light, and sturdy all at the same time.  I’m not just saying this because I got the products for free, I would 100% buy these again with my own money.

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I couldn’t help but cut myself another slice.

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That’s amore! (I had to do it)

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One of the easiest ways to make sure you eat well and save money is bringing your own food to work.  I’m practically a pro at packing meals to-go because I work at a job that requires it.  As a nurse, I’m often squeezing snacks and meals in whenever I can.  Unlike my days off, when I can eat whenever I’m hungry, the timing of my meals at work is instead based on my patients’ stability. 

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In NYC, I brought my lunch every single day.  If you add it up, those 2 1/2 years of BYOL probably saved me hundreds of dollars.  And don’t even get me started on the quality of my food vs. that which I would have purchased instead… 

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I’m happy to continue this trend as I’m back in the hospital here in CA. 

Readers have been emailing me asking about how I go about putting together meals for the day, and if people are interested I can do a more detailed post…

To put it briefly, I try to give myself multiple options of flavors, textures, and types of food.  Something crunchy, something savory, something sweet, something that I can eat on-the-go, etc.  By giving myself options, I’m more likely to be satisfied with my packed food, and less likely to turn to expensive, unhealthy choices. 

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Like almost every lunch I make, this one featured a big salad…starting with spinach and bell peppers.

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Next I added cubed tofu (sprayed with Bragg’s and microwaved like a lazy chef).

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I definitely go through phases with my salads, and that usually depends on the season.  Some of my favorite combos include squash or sweet potatoes.  I also really like beans/chickpeas.  However, the main thing I can’t build a good salad without is dark green lettuce.  Spinach and kale are my favorite leafy greens, so those are the base ingredient for 99.9% of my salads.  I love them and it’s rare that our fridge will be without one option or the other. 

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After adding in the tofu, I topped it off with avocado.

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I usually like to add dried fruit, like dried cranberries or raisins, for a hint of sweetness.  The only reason I didn’t on this salad was because I was all out :( 

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All together now, I have a salad, carrots, apple, and Acai Strawberry flavored Trio bar.  Post-photo I realized I forgot to add in a tub of hummus, so I made sure to pack that (otherwise my poor carrots would’ve been so lonely).

I never ever leave the house without an apple, and usually I pack two.

I also usually pack more food, but right now I’m not doing my normal 12 hour shifts (I’m still on orientation so I’m currently rocking 8a-4p work days).

Next week I will be starting regular shifts (12 hours), so you’ll probably notice an increase in the amount of food I bring. 

Just call me the queen of tupperware.  🙂

On the bus ride home I was contemplating the rest of the day…

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I ended up getting off a few stops early for the above necessity treat…which I sipped on my walk home.

Back at the casa I snacked on a pumpkin banana muffin.

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Remember how I added carob chips and made muffins with the extra batter

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Half were made with the bread batter, but I didn’t have quite enough to fill out all the muffin tins, so I quartered the same recipe but exchanged the flour for oats.  I was nervous they’d be weird, but they were totally perfect. 

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After they cooled, I froze the muffins to have as small but substantial snacks on hand…and this guy was exactly that!

I waited for my tum to digest, and then hit the road for a relaxed 4 mile run.  I was a little slow, but I haven’t really been in the cardio game this past week, so I wasn’t expecting a super speedy session.  Yet.  :P 

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For dinner I made hummus with one ingredient: chickpeas. 

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Two cans.  Drained. 

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Food processorrrrrr

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How’s that for the simplest recipe?

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And it turned out thick thick thick. 

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First off I tried it with Ezekiel’s 7 sprouted grains bread.

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Then I made a nice little plate of dippables.

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Falafel, carrots, and baby bell peppers.

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I love this photo because of the insane height of the hummus. 

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Dinner hit the spot, but I still had juuuuust enough room for dessert.

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Enter Heart Thrive chocolate chip cookie number two. 

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After seeing these around the blog world for a while, I was beyond thrilled when reader Courtney sent me some for my birthday.  Such a sweetheart.  They are so much thicker than I expected.  And dense.  I was also expecting them to be sweeter and, well, more cookie like.  I have to say, I prefer the way these were more oaty.  They were a bit dry, but I think it was just the density.  They are packed buggers!

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To summarize, I would definitely recommend trying these as long as you know going into it, they aren’t your average cookie.  If you aren’t trying to replace a normal dessert, then you’ll be wowed for sure.  They’re vegan, they’re hearty, and they’re delicious. 

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I will be buying them myself if I can ever manage to find them in stores…

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