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If you’re a regular reader, you know my parents are foodies and when they visit me, we tend to go big.

They’ve treated us to some of my finest meals – from Del Posto and Hearth to many other dining faves.

This visit was only a short one, but we still packed in a good time – strolling on the beach and soaking up the sun’s rays.  Before heading to dinner, we enjoyed drinks at The Penthouse.  Happy hour at the The Huntley Hotel in Santa Monica is worth the pricey drinks because of the view alone…but for the record, the drinks are really good, too.

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Seating along the windows is prime real estate, so it was a good thing we arrived by 6:30 pm.  The Penthouse is (as you’d expect) on the top floor of the hotel, which is located on 2nd and California, offering amazing 360 degree views of the Westside, from the coast to the Valley.

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The ambiance was Hollywood chic with the casual mellow feel of Santa Monica.

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There were even sunroofs to let in views of the bright blue sky!

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As we took in the breathtaking views, we browsed the cocktail menu.  SO many good choices!

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Clockwise from the left, mom’s Bubbles & Kiwi, dad’s Spicy Hot Margarita, Kyle’s Rooftop Manhattan, and my Thyme & Cucumber Amnesia.

I tried my mom’s, but not my dad’s (me and tequila don’t mix at all).

Her Bubbles & Kiwi had Muddled Kiwis, Plymouth Gin, St Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Lemon Juice and a dry burst of Perrier-Jouet Brut Champagne.

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I liked it but it was very sweet, so one sip was enough.  I love kiwi though, so the muddled fruit was a perk.

My drink was recommended by the waitress, and I’m so glad I went with it.  Despite the odd sounding pairing of thyme and cucumber, I just went with it.

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In addition to Muddled Cucumber and Thyme, it had Cranberry Juice and fresh Lemon Juice and Gin. It was light and refreshing, and the flavor was subtle but definitely present.  It’s the kind of drink you could sip all night.  Plus, how cute is the floating cucumber island with the sprig of thyme popping out of it!

Kyle’s drink was potent smelling, so I didn’t try it, but in case you were wondering, he was the first one to finish.

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The Penthouse’s Rooftop Manhattan has Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whiskey, Sweet Vermouth, a Dash of Angostura Bitters and a Maraschino Cherry.

The people watching in this place was hilarious.  Nearly everyone surrounding us was on a mobile device.  I was trying to take a picture of it, while Kyle mocked the neighboring crowd.

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He calls this look “TCB” (taking care of business).  Please note the guy in the background doing the same.  🙂

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As the sun went down, we took photos and eventually headed to dinner.

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You better believe we will be returning to the Huntley again.  If the drinks were that good, I want to try their food menu too.

Dinner was only a short walk away…

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Top Chef Masters turned me and Kyle on to the genius of Chef Susan Feniger who competed in Season 2, and apparently co-owner Chef Mary Sue Milliken will soon be competing in Season 3 (premiering this week!).

Needless to say Border Grill has been on the to-visit list for a while now, so this meal was long overdue.

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Aren’t my parents cute!

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After we were seated they brought us chips and salsa and we ordered drinks.  The cocktails were what you’d expect in a Mexican restaurant, but I still managed to find a non-tequila, non-wine drink.

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Sangria!  Yum.  There was so much chopped fruit in the drink I couldn’t really taste the alcohol.  But I didn’t really care since I had to work the next morning.

For our entrees, my mom and dad both got the same dish.

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Chicken Poblano Enchiladas ~ slow roasted chicken • handmade corn tortillas • poblano crema grilled corn • wild mushrooms • roasted poblano chiles

Kyle got the special, probably because the name of the dish, Chilequile, was his nickname when he studied abroad in Spain.  FYI, chilequiles are kinda like deconstructed enchiladas, or nachos with fried tortillas underneath a bunch of toppings.

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Chicken Chilequiles

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I got the Border Vegetables ~ sweet creamed corn • green chick peas • braised fennel • quinoa salad • sautéed mushrooms black beans • seasonal farmers market vegetables

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I couldn’t figure out what the braised fennel was the entire time I was eating it, but it was only so-so.  The green chickpeas on the other hand were AWESOME.  Where do you buy green chickpeas anyway?  The quinoa was really acidic, almost like the tabbouleh I got from Tender Greens, but I liked it.  When I mixed the black beans with the quinoa and the rest of the seasonal veggies it was great.

All in all, a great night.  I left way too full, but the walk back home helped.

Dessert was a treat of a different kind.

Remember that mystery suitcase from this post??  One reader actually guessed correctly, and identified it as an accordion.

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Back in the day, Kyle’s grandpa was a member of a musical group called the Polka Dots.  And lucky me, he left his accordion to Kyle.  Hmmmm…I don’t remember anything about learning musical instruments in our wedding vows.

Who plays (or used to play) an instrument?

I played the french horn.  <—Band geek 😉

Tomorrow I’m announcing the Tropical Traditions coconut peanut butter winner so get your last minute entries in asap.

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This post started innocently enough, with the tempeh recipe I promised from yesterday’s dinner

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But then I got emails asking about tempeh and figured if a few people were wondering it, maybe there were more…so admittedly, this post gets a little educational.  But who doesn’t want to learn about soy, right?  😉

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I’ve tried a few brands of tempeh before, and aside from the fakin’ bacon (which is LightLife’s tempeh version of faux bacon), none have been too pleasing for my palate.  This organic garden veggie tempeh (also by LightLife) is the closest I’ve come to tasty.  It’s still a tad bitter, but the flavors are much more mild thanks to the veggies in it.

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Contains: soy.

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I’m sure you’ve heard all of the rumors about the dangers of soy…yadda yadda whatever.  There’s a big difference between soy in the form of tofu vs. tempeh. 

Unlike tofu, the soy in tempeh is fermented, thus separating it from the foods included in the whole soy controversy. 

Hippie that I am, I’m not sure I really buy into the claims that the (so-called) anti-nutrients in unfermented soy are toxic to the body, but then I do know there’s some validity to the effects of phytates, enzyme inhibitors and goitrogen.  So I take each study with a grain of salt (and look at what company is funding the research) and just remember to eat everything in moderation…

But back to fermented soy.

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When mold grows on foods (such as soybeans) it apparently destroys the toxins present thereby making the nutrients in the beans available to the body.  This process is known as fermentation and has led to the creation of foods like tempeh and miso.  In essence, the isoflavones in fermented soy have been transformed into a non-toxic form making them safe and beneficial. 

TMI?  Ok, I’ll get back to the recipe.

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I cut the tempeh in large chunks, added them to boiling water, and left them to cook for ~10 minutes.  For the record, in the past I have tried steaming tempeh prior to cooking it, but still found it to be pretty bitter.  This time I tried boiling it because I thought it might work as a more aggressive technique to remove the harsh bite.

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I swear it grew in the water!

After the tempeh felt a bit softer, I removed the chunks and placed them directly into a frying pan.

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It crumbled easily in the pan and started sautéing right away.

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At this point I added in spices and (1/4 cup) black beans.  I cheated and used an organic spice packet that I got at Expo from The Spice Hunter.  It was an organic salt free blend of Mexican spices that included organic cumin, onion, garlic, paprika, cilantro, red pepper, coriander, and oregano.  I added in an extra dash of cumin and paprika because those are my favorite flavors in Mexican food.

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And mixed up, I left it to simmer while I got the second part of the meal.

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Making millet requires a tad more water than normal grain to liquid ratios (even when made in a rice cooker). 

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In a separate pan, I added the following:

  • 1 cup (cooked) millet
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • dash of paprika

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The liquid from the tomato and salsa was enough to soften up the millet and everything blended beautifully.

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Ready to go!

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Add-ins: avocado, tomato, romaine lettuce.

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Kyle wanted a burrito, but I felt like a salad, so I chopped extra romaine for myself.

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Talk about a beast of a portion.  Believe it or not, there is lettuce under there…

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The millet was actually my favorite part. 

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I love it’s cornmeal like flavor and chewy texture.  Plus, I had half an avocado in there, which makes everything better.

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I still found the tempeh a little bitter, but Kyle loved it and didn’t think there was anything bitter about it.  Who knows. 

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Like I said, he had his in a burrito.  It may look small, but was definitely not.  Usually vegan dishes don’t keep him full for very long, but he didn’t have seconds and still felt satisfied! 

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I will consider the dish a winner since the non-vegan among us loved it.  Maybe fermentation isn’t my thing?

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In November I was bragging about how great the 80 degree weather was.  And then in January I was happily soaking up the sun’s rays on the beach.  And now it’s March and the weather is cold and dreary!?  What gives?

Since it’s LA, I know it won’t last too long, but I have to say, these stormy skies and rain clouds aren’t fun at all.

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Breakfast came really late on Saturday.  After saying goodbye to my sis (until we reunite in Europe in May), Kyle and I drove back to Santa Monica so I could get a loooong night’s sleep in preparation for Saturday’s night shift.

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I didn’t get up until after 10 am, and didn’t eat breakfast until almost noon.

To get the day under way, I painted a Alvarado Street sprouted tortilla with Sunbutter.  Look how caked on it was!  I’m a modern day Van Gogh 🙂

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I jazzed up the breakfast quesadilla with thinly sliced apples, then topped it with cinnamon and folded it into thirds.

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If a PB&J sammie had a menage a trois with a quesadilla and a fruit basket, this would be the love child.  Except instead of peanut butter I used sunflower seed butter.

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Wrap-tastic.

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In between Jillian and basketball games, there was a fair amount of snacking.  I had the rest of the tropical dried fruit and two more bowls of nuts, raisins, and carob chips than pictured.  I have to say, salt is amazing.

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Before heading into the office hospital, I pre-gamed with another sprouted tortilla wrap.  This one was more traditional with ‘shrooms, spinach, butternut squash and hummus.

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Even though my pre-shift appetite was pretty much non-existent, I had a feeling it would kick in at some point (most likely around midnight).  The solution?  A snack-esque meal.  Leftover white bean dip with various scoop-ables fit the bill.  Snyder’s gluten-free pretzels were good, but I actually prefer the spelt ones by Newman’s or 365 brand.

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I also packed some veg in the form of blanched broccoli, raw carrots and red bell peppers.  Cold crudités have never tasted so good.  They were crisp and crunchy and I craved 200 more.  Needless to say, the bean dip was gone by midnight, as expected.  The apples suffered a similar fate.

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When I got home, there were leftover waffles calling my name.  They were so hearty and flavorful, this may be the best batch I’ve tried yet!  They were so tasty, they required absolutely nothing on top.

A shower and warm glass of almond milk (with a few drops of NuNaturals vanilla stevia) later, I was ready to tuck into bed.  Lucky for me, Kyle was still asleep (this was his last weekend of spring break) so I was actually able to fall into a semi-deep slumber.  I didn’t wake up until 11:30 – a personal record!

The next day was the same old, same old.

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I had a big bowl of fruit, followed by a snickerdoodle cookie.

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The wrapper is all I managed to capture on film because it was THAT good.  Alternate Baking Company makes a mighty fine cookie, but it wasn’t as chewy as Nana’s.

Like the rest of ABC’s cookies, this flavor is 100% vegan (sans dairy, eggs, hydrogenated oils, or artificial ingredients).  Unlike the other flavors, Snickerdoodle is one of the two wheat-free flavors (the other one is Mac the Chip).

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As you can see, the ingredients are wholesome, but the nutritional stats are still pretty dessert-like.  I’m not saying I take issue with this – it is a cookie after all – but the fact that the cookie is two servings brings the totals to an area that I would pretty much designate for treats alone.  That said, it was a huge cookie!  I liked the first few bites, but by the end, there was an after-taste that was less like dessert and more like a non-wheat flour.  Yes, I know that taste.  It was like gluten free pancake batter.  Kinda weird.

Nana’s still occupies the #1 spot in my heart for sure, but I plan of trying the rest of ABC’s cookie flavors (just to be extra sure).

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My odd lunch was created out of desperation.  The empty fridge turned me to the freezer…which led to a pita pizza.

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Topped with Sabra’s artichoke spinach hummus and a crumbled up vegan Boca burger.  It may sound ghetto, but it was actually awesome.

I again filled the afternoon with basketball, Jillian, and couch time with my beau.  ‘Aint no shame in soaking up the rainy day inactivity, right?

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Just before work, I made a grilled cheese sammie with Almond Cheddar Style veg cheese.

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I’m not sure what to make of this product (by Lisanatti Foods), because it was good, but nothing like cheese.  I think I liked it, but it shouldn’t be compared to other veg “cheeses.”

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Once I got over the fact that it in NO way resembled real cheese (or Daiya) I enjoyed it for what it was.  A flavorful sandwich option.  It didn’t really taste or melt like cheese, but then it didn’t taste like almonds either.  I can’t think of how to describe it.  I doubt I’d buy it regularly (kinda $$$ to be a fridge staple), but it’s a nice option every once in a while.

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As far as nutritionals go, it’s a winner.  Sure, it’s a processed food, but it’s definitely in a different category from cheetos.  It should be noted that this products does contain casein (however, I had no GI reactions).

Anyway, with that, I was off to work.  Another weekend spent in scrubs and PJs…

Do you eat breakfast in your pajamas or work clothes?  Or does it vary?

I avoid doing anything in my scrubs.  I ditch them within seconds of stepping foot in the door and almost always shower before I do anything else (especially eating).  However, when I work day shifts, I’m typically at work for breakfast and therefore in scrubs.

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The past week has been pretty restaurant heavy.  It makes sense since our fridge currently has more condiments than anything else. 

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After returning from Vegas, we stopped at the Culver City location of Tender Greens for some very necessary clean and organic meals.  It was pouring rain and we had no umbrellas, so we decided take-away was the best option. 

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After showering and unpacking, I dug into my “Happy Vegan” salad.  For optimal photography, I removed the toast and greens that were resting atop the other parts of the salad and put them on a separate plate. 

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Look at the gorgeous ingredients that were hiding under the lettuce!

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I’m not usually a fan of tabbouleh but this was exceptional.  It was pretty acidic, but it provided a beautiful zing when combined with the other parts of the salad. 

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Then there was quinoa with cucumber and beets, which also wowed my taste buds.  I don’t recall actually seeing any beets, but I still loved it.  The texture was mushier than I typically make my own quinoa, but I’ve come to realize that consistency is more common with red quinoa. 

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The farro wheat with hazelnuts and dried cranberries was actually one of the best parts of the salad, though, since I haven’t been able to find farro in stores and I adore the combo of nuts and dried fruit.  It was sweet, crunchy, savory, chewy, and 100% perfection.  Farro is an amazing grain.  I’m a big big fan.

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And yet, I couldn’t possibly deny the green hummus the #1 spot.  It was, without a doubt, the best thing to hit my lips in a LONG time.  I was debating calling the restaurant to ask for the recipe…or order another tub of it a la mode.  They should really package this stuff up and sell it in stores.  Do you hear me Tender Greens? 

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To start, I smeared it all over the toast.  Mmmmm…

After my palate was primed, I reconstructed the Happy Vegan salad on a plate.

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I love that their greens are organic and farm fresh and seasonal, but I had to remove a few sprigs of dill (not a fan).  Otherwise, the blend of tender greens was amazingly vibrant and fresh.

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Truth be told, I was apprehensive in ordering this salad because I make damn good salads and restaurant greens rarely live up to my own creations.  However, this was better than ANYTHING I could ever make on my own.  I couldn’t get over how flavorful every single ingredient was.  Not only that, but the unique combination of grains, nuts, fruits and veggies was so creative!  I’m so rarely surprised by restaurant salads, this was such a pleasant treat.

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It was tangy from the tabbouleh acidity, hearty from all the grains, and crunchy due to the textural variety that the nuts and dried fruit provided.  Not to mention the greens tasted like they had been picked that morning!

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All in all, it was a dream meal and I’m so excited that they are opening a restaurant in Santa Monica soon.

Cut to a few days later, and our fridge still hadn’t been restored…

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Since my sister was in town, we decided to hit up a local hole-in-the-wall called Interim Cafe.  I’ve blogged about this place before.  It’s cheap and delicious, what more do you need in a restaurant? 

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Seriously, the dessert display is too close to where you order food.  Laura and I had already picked out two desserts each before we even settled on our entree orders.  That’s what happens when two girls go to dinner starving when it’s that time of the month. 

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I’m not kidding, we left with 5 desserts.  Lesson learned.  But back to dinner…

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After going back and forth half a dozen times, I finally chose the roast vegan chix burger with avocado, veganaise, and the works on a whole wheat bun.  The “chix” portion of the burger reminded me of the soy patties that The Veggie Grill uses.  It was flavorful and I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. 

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Kyle ordered the hemp tofu steak sandwich with avocado, tomato, onion, pesto-tofunaise on toasted Rudolph Steiner hazelnut bread. 

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The bread looked SO fantastic, I begged to do a half for half swap.  He agreed, so I had half of his sammie and half of my own.  Kyle thought the tofu was on the blander side, but I liked it.  Plus the veganaise and avo combo is always a winner in my book.  Love me some healthy fats.

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Laura got the Vegan Hot Tamale Platter with a veggie tamale, brown raza rice, sombrero salad, a salsa vinaigrette, and hot mushrooms sauce on the side.

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Clean plates club x3

Interim Cafe is especially good for diners with mixed dietary preferences because they have vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, and gluten free options, but also have meal options with regular cheese and meat.  My sister happens to be lactose intolerant as well, so we both enjoyed the ease of dairy free ordering.  Kyle chose a vegan dish because he’s noticing more and more how much better he feels when he eats animal free. 

After dinner, we paused for digestion, but soon enough it was time to dig in to dessert. 

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I was SO excited for my marshmallow chocolate brownie thing.  It’s hard to tell from the photo, but this thing was a monster.  I heated it in the microwave for a few seconds which got the marshmallow all gooey and part of the chocolate melty.

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So.  Effing.  Yum.

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Kyle and Laura also got the same dessert.  🙂

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Laura and I also split a french press of Peet’s English Breakfast tea.

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It may seem weird to have a caffeinated tea after dinner, but if you knew what time we ate, you’d understand (early bird special!).

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The next day, Kyle had a lunch time meeting, so Laura and I were on our own for lunch. 

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She had a strong craving for the same white bean hummus she had last time she visited…and I am never one to turn down hummus for lunch.

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Enter Huckleberry!

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Last time with split a salad and side of bean dip, but this time we were older hungrier and wiser.

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White bean hummus with bread for each of us.

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And the white bean and spinach salad for each of us.  This salad is a bit different each time I order it.  The cherry tomatoes in this one were orange and sweet (yum!) while the capers added some vinegary tang (which I was surprised that I liked).  As per usual, I liked the bowl clean.  We each had leftover bean dip though.  Score!

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Our restaurant extravaganza continued for dinner and drinks at The Den on Sunset.  The owner was best man at my cousin’s wedding so we refused to let the weather hold us back. 

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On tap.

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On the menu.

What do you think I ordered? 

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White bean hummus with grilled flatbread (obviously).  I ordered a second plate of flatbread after finishing the first because there was still half a pot of hummus left. 

Other orders included the Chicken Club with avocado, grilled chicken, bacon, tomato, butter lettuce, shaved red onion, and dijonaise on foccacia.

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Triple cooked fries.

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Grilled bread (house-made!) with roasted cherry tomatoes, warm burrata, fresh basil and a balsamic reduction.

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Seared Ahi Tacos with salsa verde, red chili cream, and onion jam on corn tortillas

Pulled Pork Sliders with slow roasted pork, BBQ Sauce, shaved lettuce, and pickled red onion (sans buttermilk dressing)

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Grilled cheese and roasted tomato soup

We all enjoyed our meals, although rumor has it the tacos were a bit on the greasy side.

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No complaints from Finn 🙂

The next night Laura and I made our way to Newport Beach and so my Aunt and Uncle treated us to dinner. 

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Taco Rosa is really close to my G-ma’s house, and it’s a bit different from your typical Mexican fare.  It’s a family favorite for sure.   I started with some house vino (so so).

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While we browsed the menu they brought out some cute little pulled pork slider things.  I passed on them, but loved the marinated carrots on the side.

For my entree, I got the pollo con espinacas y champiñones

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The actual dish contains chicken, spinach, mushrooms, red onions, and tomatoes in a whole wheat tortilla, topped with Guajillo tomatillo and Tequila lime sauces with black beans, guacamole, sour cream and escabeche (carrots) on the side.

I asked for a chicken and dairy-free version and they had no problem meeting my requests.

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It was reallllly good.  The sauces on top were fantastic and the inside spinach, ‘shroom, and onion sauté hit the spot.

Laura got a cheese-less tostada salad with blackened chicken.

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How fancy does this look!

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My G-ma’s plate included a sweet corn tamalito (which she practically spit out), rice and beans, with a Oaxaca cheese enchilada, and a carne asada and black bean taco.

I didn’t capture my Aunt and Uncle’s meals, but everyone seemed to enjoy their food. 

So as you can see, the week has been filled with restaurant mania!  Time to dust off the cobwebs in the kitchen…

Do you prefer home prepared meals or dining out?  I love eating at restaurants, but at the same time it can get tiring after a while.  Sometimes I crave simple things that aren’t on the menu, ya know?  That said, it’s pretty fun to get pampered. 

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I haven’t had very many interesting things to share.  The weather went from shorts and tank-top temperatures to bundle in layers degrees.  Don’t you gauge the season by outfits, too?

I still fit a 4 mile run in yesterday between stuffing my face with brownies.

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One, two, buckle my shoe unbuckle my belt…

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Okay, okay, I didn’t JUST have brownies (as if you’d judge me either way).

I had a huge bowl of nearly-spilling-over-the-edge oatmeal.

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  • 1 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • dash of cinnamon
  • drip of NuNaturals’ vanilla stevia

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Perfection

My evening was uneventful.  Kyle and his waffle team are working furiously on their big presentation this week, so I was left to my own devices for the entire day.  Amazingly, I got very little accomplished, unless you count clearing out the DVR.

Dinner was simple.

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Sweet potato stuffed with hummus (a new flavor!) with a steamed kale and carrot salad and falafel crumbled on top.

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One half of the sweet tater had the last bit of the old Sabra flavor (roasted pinenut), while the other side had the new kind (spinach and artichoke).

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This was confusing for my taste buds.  It really didn’t have enough chickpea or tahini flavor going on and for me, it was mostly like a spinach artichoke dip.  It was good, but shouldn’t be categorized as a hummus.  Make no mistake, I enjoyed it thoroughly (and definitely added heaps more after taking the photo).

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For dessert, I opted to nix the brownies (lest I OD in under 24 hours), and chose a new-to-me Clif MOJO.

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Sweet & Salty Trail Mix Bar…mmmm…

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These bars are perfect in satisfying either kind of craving – salty AND sweet.  The crushed pieces of pretzels and mini butterscotch chips are drool inducing.  Try as I might to slowly savor the bar, I still scarfed it in under a minute.

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I may have to attempt a home-made replication of this soon.  It was friggin’ awesome.

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After dessert, I packed up my work food for the day and started settling into my PM routine.

Work was work.

Jillian-ed it up with The Shred at 4:30 am then broke the fast with coffee and an apple.

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Work breakfast was oats.  Nothing too fancy, just strawberries & cinnamon.

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My main course for lunch was steamed kale topped with spaghetti squash and vegan Field Roast (and subsequently doused in Bragg’s liquid aminos).

Oops, I still owe you all that Field Roast review, huh?  Ok, I’ll get on that 🙂

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Don’t tell Kyle, but me and Nana are starting to have an affair.  This is my 3rd in a week.  😉  Ginger is one of the best flavors.

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Whoever is the grandchild of “Nana” is SO effing lucky.  These cookies are out of control.  I’ve tried every flavor and they are all perfect.  Chewy, gooey, and melt in your mouth sweet.

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Best of all they don’t shoot your blood glucose through the roof.  Always a plus.  My only complaint is that the serving size is 1/2 a cookie.  Because it’s BS to think that anyone could eat half of one of these babies and call it a day.  I dare you.

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The rest of the snack pack included raw cauliflower and carrots with Sabra hummus, two apples, and mucho candied ginger.

I have to share a photo that I took on my lunch break (with my phone’s camera) because, well, you’ll see…

I’m sorry about the quality (my blackberry is certainly no iPhone) and the odd angle (I was trying to be semi-incognito), but as you can see here, some mighty fine characters hang around the hospital.  Allow me to draw attention to his plastic gold stunna shades, his ghetto phabulous chain necklace, and his beach blanket (a pile of stripped clothes).  The best part of all, however, which is sadly not caught on film, is that this was mid-exercise.  Mid-crunches, to be specific.  Let me tell you, the guy had spectators.  It was a scene.  Anyway.  I thought you may enjoy it.  It definitely made my lunch break that much more entertaining.

When I got home I did some damage to the brownies and eventually contemplated dinner.  More on that later…

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Sadly, no, it’s not summer quite yet.  The dog days I’m referring to aren’t the ones of sweltering heat.  I’m talking about working like a dog.  The past few days have been busy busy busy, filled with A fib, altered mental status, and other nursing fun.  Night shifts are not my friend.  But next week I’m back to days so three cheers for that! 

How about some food!

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Apple, pear, leftovers.

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Quinoa, roasted butternut squash, and lentil loaf.

The thing about night shift, is my body still thinks it’s night time.  So I don’t have much of an appetite, even though I’m still working the same 12 hours as a day shift.  As you’ve seen from my day shift pre-packed eats (and prepping tutorials), I would typically require wayyyyy more food.  That’s the weird thing about night shift.  My body doesn’t really know how to adapt.  It doesn’t help that I go back and forth between AM and PM schedules (I was hired for half and half), but then, I’d rather have 50% day shifts over none.  After all, I do like seeing my husband and friends every once in a while…

Back to work.

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Apple, apple, leftovers.

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Spinach, steamed sweet potato, squash quinoa patty-cake.

And finally, my last shift to freedom.

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Shredded collards, carrots, falafel, quinoa.

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Look how I made the collard greens into ribbons!  So silly right?  It was an accident.  I “lightly cooked” the leaf by putting it in a glass bowl and running boiling water over it in the sink (one of the classier methods you’ve read about no doubt).  It just softened the texture up a bit since the raw form is a bit tough if not being used as a wrap (like here).

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Once the collards were warmed they loosened up slightly, while still maintaining enough shape to easily de-stem and thinly slice.

Then I just added in carrots, falafel, and quinoa.  Done and done.

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Voila!  Along with Sabra hummus and a double side of apples.

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Of course working nights isn’t ALL bad…

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I get to spend way more time on breakfast.  As a result, my morning meals have become my faves.  Oats are fine and all, but pancakes, waffles, french toast, and home-made granola are definitely treats for my taste buds.  Step aside dinner, there’s a new course in town!

Speaking of decadent breakfasts…hurry up, it’s the last day to enter to win waffles!! 

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I was going to try and throw down a quick recap of this “holiday” weekend, but alas, my ramblings got the best of me…it may be picture dense, but it’s not so quick. 

Saturday was the main event, if you will, but Friday was pretty sweet too. 

Kyle and I made a Costco run – always dangerous when you’re a foodie living on a student budget.

Key purchases worth noting…

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Almond Butter (this jar is the size of my head)

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Sabra hummus x3 including spinach artichoke and roasted pine nut flavors plus individual mini tubs (bets on how many months days these will last?)

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Crackers, chips, and bars, bars, bars (Clif, Kashi, Mrs. May’s, Chewy – you name it, we now have it)

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And don’t even get me started on the massive amounts of produce

Sometimes Costco’s baby bell peppers are on the weaker side, but this bag was atypically large with a fantastic crunch.  [J’adore]

I could hardly fit everything in the fridge!  In addition to the bulk baby bell peppers and blueberries, there was a block of cheddar cheese so massive that it could double as gym equipment. 

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The fruit basket was a whole other story.  Avocados, bananas, and galas, oh my!

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I resisted temptation and didn’t buy the uber cheap crate of strawberries because they weren’t organic, but the pesticide-free blueberries were fair game. 

How is it that a gum and toilet paper run turned into a $250 trip?  Mysterious. 

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So back to the eats…I clearly helped myself to some hummus lovin’ for lunch.

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Wraptastic.

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Alvarado Street sprouted tortilla, Sabra hummus, spinach, bell peppers, and raw shredded cauliflower

What else does hummus go with?

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Honestly, what doesn’t hummus go with?

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I’ve been having a damn near impossible time finding Sabra in stores, so that’s why I found it necessary to stock up on enough to feed an army (as if I need an excuse).  Still, it’s comforting to know that should disaster strike, I’m good for a while. 

Side note: why are the LA Whole Foods only carrying one kind of hummus nowadays?  I’m not okay with this.  It has drastically reduced my (previously) record breaking chickpea consumption. 

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Dinner was a seitan stir-fry that I was able to throw together in less than 10 minutes. 

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Home-made log seitan plus frozen stir-fry veggies…tossed in a pan with Bragg’s liquid aminos.  No more.  No less.

After a romantic candlelit dinner with my boo, we were joined by my homegirl Alene for some wine and chit chat.

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We got a year long wine club membership to MacRostie as a wedding present and this Cab was the first we’ve tried.  Wow.  I am a Sonoma wine snob after all…  🙂

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Totally delish.  It’s bold flavor rocked my face.

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Saturday started with an “o” meal of oat bran and whole rolled oats.  Sorry that it’s less than thrilling, but not every letter has an appetizing letter that corresponds. 

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The AB does add to the excitement though, yes?  MaraNatha is yum.

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I heaped it on like I was storing up insulation for the winter.

Before working out in the afternoon I did some baking…and snacking.

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[With such delish dough, these activities really were one in the same]

Then Jillian got me sweaty and Kyle forced me into normal clothes.

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Sunday was a detox day.  Back to back wine nights is so not like me! (read: I’m old and can’t handle such frequent boozing)

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I had a hearty breakfast (oats, peanut butter, and a chopped apple).

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Followed by a hearty lunch…and a half-hearty workout

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Every veg in the apartment salad (BN squash, spinny, bell pepps, carrots, cauli, yadda yadda topped in heaps of hummus). 

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Five pounds.  Yes. 

Post-lunch and post-workout, I played in the kitchen (again).  I’m on a roll folks.

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Sorry I keep teasing you with this granola recipe.  I swear it will be coming soon!  This once full tupperware was the perfect afternoon snack.

Anyway, Sunday’s lazying about all led up to a 7 pm call time.

Night shift. 😦

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I packed the above (leftovers from North End Caffe) with roasted butternut squash, apples, and dried fruit.

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Add in teas by the kilo, and that’s my night in a nutshell.

I ate shortly before midnight and the hours rolled on without incident. 

I got home by 8 am and guess what!?!  I went straight to bed!  [Okay I showered first but still – I actually fell asleep and didn’t wake up until 11:45 am]

This is progress.

It helped that Kyle was still asleep and so crawling under the covers didn’t mean missing out on normal people awake time.

As you’d expect, I woke up ravenous. 

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I fueled the beast with AB toast before contemplating what (more substantial) breakfast lunch I should make. 

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This MaraNatha almond butter is shovel-down-by-the-spoonful good.  I need to slow my roll or the Costco sized jar is going to be empty by the end of the week!

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My second course was a bowl of granola with bloobs and apples.

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Oh sweet heaven, this stuff is divine.

No napping occurred in the PM (sadly).  I did attempt a beach front jog that left me pretty invigorated. 

Come 6 pm I wound up back in scrubs and headed back to the hospital for a second shift.  My stomach was being kinda questionable, so I didn’t really have a full meal before leaving. 

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I did grab a couple of slices of pumpkin banana bread before hitting the road, though. 

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I struggled through the first few hours of work, feeling pretty yucky. 

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I had an apple around 11 pm, but didn’t feel like anything else at all.  Fortunately I had Yogi stomach ease tea with me, which helped sooth my system. 

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By 1 am I was starving, so even though my GI tract wasn’t game, my priorities were all about ending the growling.  More fiber probably wasn’t the best dinner option, but it’s all I had…leftover lentil loaf with butternut squash on a bed of spinach

Booyah.  Work weekend done.

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