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Archive for the ‘carob chips’ Category

I’m not an overly dramatic person (must be the residual effects of my tomboy youth…) but I have to say, the lack of candied ginger in ALL the local Whole Foods stores has me freaking out.  I am officially out.  Like Kyle’s chapstick stash, I had back-ups upon back-ups, but they are all depleted now.  Yikes.  Hoarding fail.

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It gets worse!  The above photo is the last of my carob chip stash too.  Folks, this is a state of national emergency. 

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My pre-packed work eats will just have to do without my beloved ginge. 

More leftover Surprisingly Vegan waffles with frozen bloobs (they thaw by the time I eat/heat it the next day). 

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Plus, some Artisana raw cacao bliss nut butter.  For the record, this flavor needs mega kneading before it’s ready to squeeze, but it’s worth the hand exercise.  Mmmmm…

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Cherries, apple, dried fruit, yadda yadda. 

Not the best snacks for eating on the go, but the weekends are generally slower paced on the weekends so I pack fewer bars and more fresh fare.

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I did have one of my favorite desserts though…easy enough to eat whenever and/or wherever.  Nana’s Oatmeal Raisin cookies are a gift to vegans. 

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My salad is admittedly hideous, so for the record, please ignore it’s appearance.  It has huge amounts of avocado and leftover tofu stir-fry on mixed greens

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Happy weekend all!  Who else is working?  Who is lounging in the sun for me?

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If I told you I’ve been blasting the new Britney Spears song on repeat for most of the day?  You probably should.  It’s not exactly brilliant in the lyrics department.  It’s catchy, but overly repetitive.  At least it inspired me to make a new running mix…which inspired me to go on a run…which made me feel like a million bucks for the entire day.  Chain reaction a la B. Spears.

This morning started with a late wake up.  Unlike yesterday’s garbage truck fiasco, this was the perfect way to enjoy my morning off.  Then I got a rude awakening when I realized my to-do list was longer than Charlie Sheen’s.  Aren’t my days off are supposed to be more relaxing than my work days? 

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I tackled my a few tasks while sipping on my 19th cup of coffee and eventually took a break for some food.

Shocker of all shockers, this morning’s breakfast was NOT oats. 

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No worries, I just subby subbed in some cereal and the likes.  This was one of three bowls of Udi’s granola with greek yogurt.  I have no self control.  Actually, Udi’s is just that good. 

After digesting, I went on a nice long run, which left me completely energized.  I started cooking and prepping for the work days ahead of me and soon enough lunch cravings set in.

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Ooey gooey cheeeeeze  😀

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I managed to stuff Sabra hummus, Tofutti cream cheese and Daiya cheddar inside the toasted whole wheat bread, which explains why the sammie is bursting at the seams. 

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This is vegan cheese bliss.  The apples on the side provided a contrasting sweet crunch.  J’adore.

The reason my dinner appetite was so weak is because of the following sequence of events.

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I should not be permitted to buy family sized tubs of hummus.

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Let alone multiple tubs.

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After destroying the above plate, I then proceeded to make my way through these Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato chips.

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For the record, I was actually hungry throughout this chowfest.  I never felt like I was full, and so I kept eating.  My appetite is truly a wondrous thing.  So are those chips.  They really taste like sweet potatoes.  Yummy.

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Finally my stomach was sated. 

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Because of this, I didn’t get hungry again until rather late.  At which point I had the above carob chip & almond mix.  But I refilled it a few more times 🙂

And it’s back to work manana. 

Have you heard the new Britney song?  What’s your favorite upbeat/workout song at the moment?

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Take a picture

How many photos do you take of the same dish before feeling like you adequately captured the meal’s deliciousness?

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Sometimes I feel like a nut job circling the table taking a million and one pictures of the exact. same. thing.

Dancing around doing laps like a hawk stalking it’s prey.

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Until I finally feel satisfied that I got the perfect picture of breakfast.

Who would have thought the lighting of effing oatmeal would ever be so important to me. 

I hope I’m not the only one…

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Anyways, clearly this morning’s breakfast was oatmeal.  Nothing new or ultra revolutionary about it. 

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  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 banana
  • TJ’s peanut flour
  • NuNatural’s vanilla stevia

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I added in carob chips as an afterthought.

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As they melted, I stirred them in. 

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Stirred, stirred, stirred.

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Mmmm…

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Reese’s in oat form.

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Now that’s a bomb a$$ bowl.  And I have 73 other photos of it as proof…

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They say evidence is damning.  And I have to agree.  My camera has been revealing some of these truths. 

Here’s proof…

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…that I should always cook oats on the stove or eat them raw 

…that working three shifts in a row can cause you to add extra zeros (at least it was the microwave – which has far less disastrous consequences than a patient’s meds!)

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…that everything is salvageable (just add nut butter)

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…that I will never get bored of apples

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…that you can make quinoa “ghetto”

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…that my patients are turning me into a 90 year old

If it seems like I worked every day this week, it’s because basically I did.  Kyle was out of town, so I just put my nose to the grindstone and packed as many shifts into the week as possible, including both weekend days.

I really really dislike doing so many shifts in a row, and by Sunday I felt like a walking zombie. 

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I started the day with a 4:30 am workout, followed by a deconstructed smoothie.  The tupperware on the left had frozen tropical fruit (mango, papaya, pineapple, and strawberries) plus fresh blueberries and plain greek yogurt while the tupperware on the right had apple slices.  Coffee #1 of several million is visible in the background. 

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I also had a couple leftover pumpkin banana mini muffins with carob chips on top.  The freezer is another life saver in food prepping by the way. 

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My lunch consisted of two course.  The first was quinoa, roasted butternut squash, and cornmeal & coconut coated tofu.

The second course was an eggy frittata thing

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I made this up on the fly because I was in the mood for a salad, but wanted something warm and easy of my GI tract.  Eggs are a simple thing for me to digest, I just rarely eat them because I rarely want to eat them. 

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I started with the raw ingredients that I would typically use in a salad, including spinach, bell peppers, and roasted veggies (fingerling potatoes and parsnips).

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How to turn a salad into a frittata?

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Add one (organic free-range) egg mixed with 1/8 cup plain soymilk and microwave for ~ 3 minutes. 

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Easy peasy egg dish.

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I also had this home-made trail mix to snack on throughout the morning (it was gone long before lunch rolled around).

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When I got off work, I was too exhausted for words.  I drove home listening to my mom and sister on speakerphone because I was too brain dead to contribute to the conversation. 

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Dinner was anything but glamorous, but definitely delicious. 

I used up the last of the quinoa with (what else?) roasted butternut squash.  But then, I completely killed the classy nature of the meal with some thawed vegan Boca burgers (Costco, what whaaat) topped with America’s favorite condiments (BBQ sauce and ketchup).

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Fresh meets frozen.  If nothing else, this is simply more proof that I am owning my delightfully imbalanced approach to eating.

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For dessert, I dug two of Mama Pea’s gingersnap cookies out of the freezer.  These are so flippin’ good.  I have to store them in the freezer otherwise I’d devour them all in one sitting.  But we all know I love desserts 🙂

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Before I go, the Doctor’s Best giveaway winner is Robin.  I wish I had enough to share with all my fellow IBS-ers because everyone had such amazing and compelling stories.  It’s like an IBS support group up in hurrr. 

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What the [bleep] was up with my appetite today!?  Good thing I had packed a beastly amount of food because, lemme tell you, I woke up with a hunger that just wouldn’t quit. 

As per usual, I started the day with Jillian (Level 3 of the Shred).  I felt great throughout the 20 minutes of this, that, and the other – it’s crazy how energetic it gets me at 4:30 am.  But as soon as I got out of the shower my stomach was growling like a crazy rabid Rottweiler.  This is pretty atypical for me because my GI tract is slow to get going in the morning.  Not today!  With only food on the brain, I made my way to the kitchen to quiet my tummy (this was at 5:15 before I was even dressed!). 

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As I stared into the cabinets, I couldn’t stop thinking about how bizarre my body was being.  I felt woozy almost.  Need food.  Need food.  Need food.

On work days, I normally pack two breakfasts: the first is for the road (or to eat in my car right before work), and the second is for when I get hungry again at work (at a more “normal” breakfast time). 

Today, however, I knew there was NOOOOO way I was going to make it to work on coffee alone.  Here’s where things get really weird. 

All I wanted was walnuts.  I craved them in a major way. 

[My mom is probably about to keel over reading this]

Why is this weird?  If you know me, you know how much I detest most nuts.  I have only recently learned to like cashews and almonds, and it’s been a long road.  But walnuts are (were?) still a gag-inducing no-no food. 

My poor mom has made special nut-less versions of her banana bread and Thanksgiving stuffing for years just because of my issues…and here I am eating raw walnuts by the handful naked in my kitchen before the sunrise. 

Odd.

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After downing a pretty bossy amount of the creepy looking buggers, I decided to put them in a dish.  I knew I needed something with real staying power, so I turned to the ever faithful tupperware of oats.

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Oats, walnuts, cinnamon, banana. 

Success!  This got me all the way to work, but before the clock even struck 7 am, my stomach was already asking for more.

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I know when to listen. 

Breakfast numero dos was the last of the greek yogurt with pineapple, mango, papaya, strawberries, blueberries, and the home-made trail mix you see above (Three Sister’s Honey Puffs, cheerios, almonds, carob chips, dried dates, raisins, dried cranz, pepitas, sunflower seeds, etc.).

At long last I felt full.  Which was good because there’s nothing worse than starting a 12 hour shift hungry.

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Here’s the rest of the ensemble.

L to R: candied ginger, apple, apple, trail mix, yog/berry mix, PB & cinnamon sammie (heel piece!!), salad, quinoa/tofu/squash

Too fast?  I’ll slow it down…

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Quinoa, roasted butternut squash, and coconut/cornmeal crusted tofu

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Spinach, bell peppers, carrots, cherry tomatoes

Dinner was delicious, but the pics are still held hostage on my camera.  Time to pack up my lunch for another day back at the hospital tomorrow.  Ciao!

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In my last post I showed you the prep portion leading up to the start of my work week. 

I’m glad you all found it informative and inspiring.  I promise it’s not as hard as it seems; and once you start doing it week in and week out, it becomes second nature.  Yes, I do have some OCD tendencies, and it’s hard for me to imagine a world without checklists, but it’s also what allows me to eat the way I want to (healthy and quick) when things get crazy.  While my Type-A personality can be semi-obnoxious in my personal life, being organized is definitely a blessing when it comes to packing lunches for several consecutive 12 hour shifts.

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So now, as promised, I’m going to share with you how I put it all together.  This is when the time saving really becomes apparent.  The key is separately tupperwaring up foods that all work well together (you should see our fridge – it’s like an advertisement for Rubbermaid).  That way I can mix and match liberally without getting bored.  Flexibility, ya dig? 

For instance, I can toss roasted butternut squash in a salad

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Or with quinoa and nutbutter

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Or eat them solo as a side dish.

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Really the possibilities are endless.

Here are a few sample lunches and dinners, all using the same ingredients:

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Dinner with quinoa, butternut squash, sweet potato, mango, edamame, and tofu (made in under 5 minutes).

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The quinoa, tofu, squash and sweet potato were all pre-cooked and individually tupperwared.  The mango and edamame were frozen and took 45 seconds to thaw.  Chop chop wham bam thank you ma’am.

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Lunch of quinoa, parsnips, fingerling and sweet potatoes, squash, and edamame.

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The dressing on this was a brilliant combo of lime juice, Bragg’s aminos, and agave nectar.  To be honest, the agave wasn’t even necessary because the lime juice and Bragg’s combo was delicious all by itself.

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Lunch salad with spinach, bell peppers, carrots, roasted veggies, avocado, dried cranberries, tofu and more avocado

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Dinner of quinoa, seitan, and roasted veggies with Bragg’s liquid aminos.

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Another quinoa dinner, this time with roasted carrots, squash, and parnsips and Artisana cashini butter.

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And yet more quinoa!  This time as a breakfast dish before work with apples, cinnamon, NuNatural’s liquid vanilla stevia and raisins.

I feel like a mix master with all these combos.  Remember factorials in math?  It’s kinda like that (I’m such a nerd). 

A few people have asked me if I ever get bored with using the same ingredients.  Usually, no. 

However, every once in a while (maybe on the last day of a long stretch of shifts), I don’t feel overly excited about anything I have on hand.  But rather than force myself to eat something just because it’s already made, I’ll figure out what I’m really craving and make that instead.  I’m not a machine!  I want what I want, and I’m not going to shove food down my throat simply because it’s there!  I know myself though, and I can pretty accurately predict what I’ll be craving and when.  So as long as I have backup options (frozen veggie burgers, soy nuggets, whatever) on hand, I don’t ever have too hard a time finding something I’m in the mood for.  And if hell freezes over, there’s always Whole Foods 🙂

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Next up, the actual art of packing it all up.

The trick is to account for all kinds of cravings (salty, sweet, savory) as well as a variety of textures and temperatures (crunchy, homey, warm, cold).  I bring bigger, heartier options along with smaller, lighter ones.  I make sure I have snacks that I can grab on the go.  And I always bring more than I think I will need. 

Variety is the spice of life, and so when I pack my food for the entire day, I try to imagine every single scenario that could arise. 

 

Will I want a sweet ending after lunch?

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Dark chocolate and/or sweet cocoa almond trail mix

Will I want a simple or complex carbohydrate breakfast?

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Fruit and/or grains

Will I be in the mood for a salad at lunch?

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(I almost always am)

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Or will I be rushing around all morning and need small nutrient dense snacks to tide me over until I get a chance to eat a full meal in the late afternoon?

These are the things I try to accommodate with my pre-packed eats.  You see, because my job doesn’t have a reliable schedule, I have to be able to adapt my meal plan as I go. 

And for the record, I have 3-5 bars (Lara, Clif, Prana, to name a few) in my locker at any given time.  Just in cases. 

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Here’s yesterday’s lunch as an example.

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When I make trail mix it’s never the same thing twice because I make it with whatever random ingredients I am in the mood for in the moment (dried fruit, carob chips, cereal, granola, nuts, seeds, etc.).

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My oatmeal breakfast brought some warmth to my belly, therefore satisfying my craving for a complex carb to keep my sated until lunch.  I pimped it out with different ingredients to keep my taste buds on their toes…nothing like a strawberry compote, cinnamon, shredded coconut, and stevia to bring a new twist to a classic bowl of oats.

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This quinoa, butternut, raisin dish satisfied my homey, comfort food craving.

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While this colorful salad satisfied my craving for something with a big crunch factor.  Full of raw veggies, including carrots, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, atop a bed of romaine lettuce.

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Let’s not forget about the random side snacks of pistachios, candied ginger, and apples.

Done and done.

Isn’t it crazy how the same ingredients can turn into such a range of dishes?  From savory to sweet, the possibilities are endless!

I suppose at some point everyone’s professional life spills into their personal life just a bit, and for me it’s the check-it-off-the-to-do-list nature of nursing that has seeped it’s way into my non-hospital time.  Who knows, maybe I was born to be a task master food prepping nerd all along.  Nobody ever died from being too organized though, right? 

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As I mentioned yesterday, we left bright and early (6:30 to be exact) to head back to LA.  And as painful as it was to get up at 5 to work out before hitting the road, it turned out to be WELL WORTH it.

That’s the scene we avoided (source).

The grapevine was snowing the entire time we were driving through, and just after we made it out, highway patrol blocked it off.  Our friends were just a couple of hours behind us and had to be re-routed to the 101.  And they were the “lucky” ones!  30 miles of the I-5 were closed for 23 hours and many many cars (that weren’t able to turn around to find an alternate route) were simply stranded in the traffic overnight.  Some people ditched their cars to find a motel (apparently the 7-11 nearby was hit up in a major way), but some people had to sleep in their cars for the night, occasionally turning on the engine to prevent them from freezing.  Holy crap we were lucky!!!

It’s open now, but I think the snow is supposed to return later tonight.  Yikes.  I thought I moved to Southern California to get away from the snow?  Maybe our next car will have four wheel drive.

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Kyle and I went to WF for dinner and to stock up on groceries for the week.

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Golden beets, kale, snap peas, and tofu.  The marinade for the tofu included green onions, no oil balsamic, wasabi and basil.  I was apprehensive about the basil in this dish.  It sounded odd to me.  But then I tried a sample in the store and liked it, so I decided to give it a shot.  I liked it, but it wasn’t as good as most of Whole Foods’ other dishes.  The lack of oil made the tofu a bit dry and other than the beets (which I loved), the rest of the ingredients were pretty bland.  Plus, every once in a while I got a bite with a big chunk of basil and that wasn’t so great. 

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I also had seitan and butternut squash fries, though, which were both stellar.

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Sliced into fry shapes, sprayed with PAM, and baked on 375 for 35 minutes (with 45 seconds of broil at the very end to give them a crispy exterior).

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Yummmmm.

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Followed by an incredible dessert of PB/carob chip toast

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And now I’m preparing to return to my real life – complete with job, responsibility, and the likes.  Bummer.  I suppose it had to come eventually.

P.S. Thanks to everyone’s encouraging and uplifting responses to my last post.  You never cease to impress me with your overwhelming support.  I love the optimism and positivity these kinds of posts create for the IBS community.  And if you haven’t entered the giveaway you still have time.

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