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Archive for the ‘hummus’ Category

If I had to summarized Monday through Thursday in a single post…well…I can’t, so I don’t know how to end that sentence.  But, where I was going with that intro was to say my week has been packed and amazing.

Highlights reel?  Sure, why not.

Monday slash Tuesday I had night shift stuff.  The only thing of note food-wise was how many berries I consumed over the course of the day. 

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I have likely met my Vitamin C quota until October. 

I also made a pita pie (for those of you who keep asking about the-best-pita-ever, it’s from Whole Foods and the brand is called Turlock Pita Bread). 

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My gorgeous pie was toasted then layered (generously) with Tropical Traditions coconut peanut butter and very thinly sliced golden delicious apples.

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Any meal that has fewer than five ingredients, takes under five minutes to make, AND tastes this good should be illegal.  Or accepted into the Foodie Hall of Fame.  Is there such a thing?  Nope. 

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I also did some late night therapy baking.  I find it a very soothing thing.  Just me and the oven, and the rest of the day fades away…

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Kyle’s a big fan of these nights.  Unlike retail therapy, they don’t cut into our vacation rent funds, plus they yield delicious treats.  Who else uses cooking/baking in this way?

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(Vegan) peanut butter and jelly thumbprint muffins.  Recipe on the way!

Wednesday morning wasn’t notably interesting, but I did make a really really yummy tropical smoothie.

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I had it with a massive bowl of cherries (since the strawbeezies are done-zo).

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I didn’t measure anything, but it had: light unsweetened soymilk (365), vanilla soy yogurt (Stonyfield), frozen tropical fruit mix (Costco), and some ice.

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I tried to go slow and eat cherries in between, but you know I froze my brain up because I have no self control.

Of course to compensate I had to make some tea.  I may be having issues with my body core thermal regulation, because I always seem to be the temperature of whatever I’m eating.  Humans are supposed to be warm blooded.  I may be a lizard.  My poor patients have to deal with my frigid hands poking and prodding them (ok, ok, I’m not that rough).  Good thing I suck down coffee like a fiend all morning long which is when I do most of my assessments…at least the heat from that helps my hands stay a bit warmer.  I’m sure the fact that I’m cracked out of my mind and bouncing off the walls doesn’t even phase them. 

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Fact: I drink Yogi tea more for the inspirational messages than the flavor of the tea.  This flavor happens to be Cocoa Mayan Spice.  It’s no Chai, but it fills the roll when my Tazo stash is on empty.

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Wednesday afternoon we picked up our friend at the airport.  In our new car.  His name is Carson and he’s a new 2011 silver CRV.  Yes, we name all our cars.  Who doesn’t? 

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The best feature is the cup holder in the door.  It fits a Kombucha perfectly.

After navigating our way back to Santa Monica (LA traffic wasn’t that bad actually), we immediately dropped off Dean’s luggage and walked to dinner.

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Blue Plate is one of my absolute favorite places ever and I have been craving their falafel burger for a solid month now. 

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We started with chips ‘n guac for the table.

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Plus a nice white bean dip with bread crisps (on the house).

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Kyle got the chicken & veggie soup and the falafel burger

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Dean got the falafel burger with fries.

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And I got the falafel burger on a salad with fresh greens, cucumber, carrots, sprouts and huge amounts of avocado

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I used all the balsamic dressing, plus the remainder of the guacamole that wasn’t eaten with chips.  It would be a crime for avocado to go unclaimed!

SO GOOD.  There’s no two ways about it, Blue Plate makes a damn fine falafel.

Wii tennis and golf duels took up the remainder of the night.  We are party animals!

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Thursday morning was not meant to start at 5 am, but that it did.  Why you ask?  Because we have crazy effing birds that crow incessantly like they are the alarm clock for the entire West Coast (and their home base happens to be directly outside our window).  The rage I was feeling…gah!  Let’s just say there’s probably never been a more conflicted vegan.  I may not be a member of PETA, but I’m still not into shooting down angry birds.  

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In any event, our plans to got for a hike in Malibu were simply pushed forward a few hours.  So after a trip to WF for coffee and a picnic lunch, we headed off to Point Mugu State Park.

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We had a fun hike.  It was relatively mild and only took a bit over an hour.  The weather wasn’t really cooperating, but if we had waited ‘til later on, the cloud cover probably would have blown off.  Sun or no sun, we enjoyed the views. 

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After reaching the bottom again, we made our way to the beach for lunch. 

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Not too bad of a view. 

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I got a veggie sando from WF with hummus, avocado, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and mustard

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I could’ve used more hummus, but that’s pretty much always the case.  In life.

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The rest of the day was mellow.  We strolled on the Promenade, stopped by the Santa Monica Pier, watched some volleyball games, and enjoyed the sun that finally did show up.

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For dinner there was no question about what we were making.  Dean simply HAD to try some home-made vegan waffles.

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We tried out Surprisingly Vegan’s latest flavor and I have to say, it’s even better than the OG recipe.

They really are SO good.  Unfortunately, they take quite a while to make from scratch…and grinding and blending and mixing everything uses up just about every single appliance and counter space in our kitchen.  Needless to say, I’ll be glad when these babies finally hit shelves, because just-add-water is so much simpler. 

The good news is that by late summer they will be sold online!!!  Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to let you all know when, where, and how you can get your hands on them. 

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Vegan, gluten-free, delicious, and nutritious.  :) 

If you’re wondering about the above creation, it’s a waffle ‘wich that I made with two waffle squares, blueberries and Follow Your Heart vegan cream cheese.  I had two servings.  And even though I was very full after my double serving, I didn’t feel like my stomach was coated in lead.  Heavenly!

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And now I am getting ready for a Friday at the hospital.  Big salad, quinoa with tofu, Inka Crops corn nuts, apple (x2), Nana’s fudge bites – yep, it’s gonna be a good day. 

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Lunch is packed and I have a breakfast of vegan waffles ready for early morning leftovers.  Yeah buddy. 

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M is for microwave, what is your favorite microwave meal/snack?

Sweet potatoes are one thing that I’ve always preferred to microwave over cooking in the oven.  It’s faster and yields a very similar (if not better) steamed tater.  [The exception to this is if you are making fries out of them]

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There’s also the matter of oats.  Although I prefer the stove top version (and always make them on the stove when I’m home), I do microwave oats when I bring them for work.

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It’s so simple, it’s hard to knock it. 

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N is for nutrients, do you likes carbs, fats, or proteins best?

This makes me think of Mean Girls.  “Is butter a carb?”  Ha.

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I live on carbs.  My diet is probably 50% bread, 35% fruit, 25% veggies, and 50% hummus.  What?  That doesn’t add up to 100%?  News to me.  So as far as I’m concerned, carbs are the best of the best. 

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Protein schmotein.  Carbohydrates for President!

I don’t want you to get the wrong idea though…I’m talking about carbs in the purest form.  Sprouted whole wheat bread and whole grains (like quinoa, millet, wheat berries, brown rice, etc.) are where it’s at!

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Best in the West baby!

O is for oil, what kind do you like to use?

I prefer Extra Virgin Olive Oil for almost all uses, but Coconut Oil is my favorite for baking.

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I wanted to highjack this truck on our drive to Madrid so badly.  Lifetime supply of olive oil?  Yes please!

P is for protein, how do you get yours?

Uhhh…through food? 

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Beans, grains, nuts, seeds, ‘fu, nutritional yeast, Bragg’s liquid aminos, etc.  One of these days I’m going to actually track the amount of protein I eat in a day just to prove vegans can easily obtain adequate amounts of this macronutrient without giving it any extra special attention.  I bet I eat a day’s worth from hummus alone. 

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Q is for Quaker, how do you like your oats?

I think this is an unfair question.  I eat oatmeal on a nearly daily basis, and I pretty much enjoy it a new way each day.  Most of the time I follow the following guidelines for add-ins:

  • nutbutter/nuts (peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter, cashew butter, coconut butter, etc.)
  • dried/fresh fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, blueberries, apples, bananas, strawberries, pears, etc.)
  • sweetener/spice (stevia, cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa, etc.)
  • extras (shredded coconut, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin puree, cacao nibs)

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R is for roasting, what is your favorite thing to roast?

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Squash.  Especially butternut squash.

S is for sandwich, what’s your favorite kind?

I made a BBQ tofu sammie the other day which will be making an appearance soon…

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T is for travel, how do you handle eating while traveling?

I try and eat as much traditional cuisine as possible (provided it’s not meat or dairy laden). 

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Go big or go home. 

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Kebabs.

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Chocolate con churros.

Of course, we all saw that I had some petite problems with my recent trip to Paris.

U is for unique, what is one of your weirdest food combos?

Hmmm…what do I combine that others think is weird? 

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Well, I can’t think of anything off hand, but I do know that very few others love Kombucha the way I do.

V is for vitamins, what kind do you take?

I don’t take vitamins regularly but I do take herbal supplements (these ones).

W is for wasabi, yay or nay?

NAY.  Very very nay.  My grandpa dared me to eat a marble sized ball of wasabi when I was little and I never quite recovered.  Pickled ginger, on the other hand, I can’t get enough of. 

X is for XRAY.  If we x-rayed your belly right now, what food would we see?

Let’s ignore the medical problems with this question and just pretend X-rays worked that way…you’d see hummus. 

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Lots of hummus. 

Y is for youth, what food reminds you of your childhood?

Where, oh where to begin!  My mom’s quick curry is a classic.  I could list so many, but that dish holds the top spot. 

Z is for zucchini, how do you prepare it?

Kyle detests all things pickle related, which includes zucchini (as well as cucumber, dill, vinegar things, and basically anything resembling a pickle in appearance or flavor). So I rarely prepare zucchini because I have to eat it solo. 

That said, I like it roasted as well as raw (spiralized into noodles).  Hmmm…that reminds me…I should dust off my spiralizer and make some raw pasta for dinner!  

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A few months ago my parents went to this restaurant in Newport Beach.  And when they told me about it, I was actually kinda jealous…until I found out a Santa Monica location was coming soon.  Hooray! 

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Kyle and I went to celebrate him being done with finals.  One year down!  Since the weather was gorgeous, we walked to Santa Monica Place.

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The menu has a variety of options, from vegan to meat courses.  They even indicate which items are vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free to assist the diner.  Also, the staff is super knowledgeable about why certain dishes aren’t vegan (the panang curry has shrimp paste that can’t be left out).  And they are able to help you make certain non-vegan dishes animal-free…which is what I did.

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Tuscan Kale Salad made vegan.  But first we had shared some starters.

Kyle and I both brought our appetites, so we got two different appetizers.

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This is the Herb Hummus with pita bread, tomato, onion & feta.  It was savory and delicious.  I navigated my way around the feta and olives, but hogged all the tomato and cucumber which were marinated to perfection. 

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The second app we chose was the Shiitake & Tofu Lettuce Cups with ginger, cashew, and toasted garlic. 

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If you’re familiar with P.F. Chang’s version of this dish, you know taste-wise what we’re dealing with.  Now imagine all that flavor, but with fresh, local produce.  It was stellar.  All of it.  Even the lettuce was amazing.  I could easily order twenty-four plates of these as my entree. 

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Pretty cool that we could watch them in the kitchen the entire time. 

Foodie that I am, I scoped out the menu before we arrived.  But, true to myself, I changed my order six more times before finally choosing the Tuscan Kale Salad.  Despite the fact that there were several vegan items on the menu, the kale caught my eye.  I asked if they could leave the parmesan off and add tofu for some extra oomph.  They were perfectly happy to oblige and voila!

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Look at this beauty!!

The salad was topped with a yummy lemon based dressing and breadcrumbs.  So good.  Also, there was quite a bit of tofu, which was totally awesome. 

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Kyle got the Roasted Chicken with basmati rice, English peas, and Indian spices. 

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He moaned (literally moaned) out loud the entire time he was eating it and swore it was the best chicken he has ever had.  And he repeated this to me multiple times.  Aside from the perfect preparation of the chicken, he couldn’t get over how flavorful the rice was.  He thinks the spices were chimichurri, which calls to mind one of the dishes I miss most from NYC

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Kyle’s beer was from Weed, a tiny town we passed on our I-5 drive up to P-town.  I tried a sip and loved it.  I’m picky with my beers, and this had delish flavors with no bitter aftertaste. 

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As you can see, the restaurant is quite spacious.  I love the open feel with the views of the staff prepping the food and the chefs cooking.  It also felt down to earth and casual without feeling cheap.  It is definitely going to be a new favorite spot. 

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What’s especially cool is how much they support local farms and emphasize the produce in their cooking.  On the wall in the back of the restaurant is a list of their favorites, along with the items they purchase from them. 

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Oh, hey there Alana…methinks I’m gonna have to seek out this roasting coffee soon.  All in all, I loved True Food Kitchen.  I’m planning on returning frequently. 

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I’ve seen this game going around, and since I’m a fan of such activities, I’m going to give it a go too!

A is for Apple, what’s your favorite variety?

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Galaaaaa.  Can’t you tell by their unwavering presence in my daily eats?  I have two a day minimum.  My record is over a dozen in one day.  Just as between meal snacks, mind you.  Yes, I like apples.  A.  Lot.

B is for Bread, regardless of nutrition, calories, or whole grains what is your favorite type to have a nice big piece of?

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Well, whole grain (specifically whole wheat) is my all time favorite.  However, I am partial to anything that’s freshly baked.  Being in Europe, that meant baguettes around the clock.

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Recently I’ve been all over Whole Foods’ pretzel baguettes though.  Have you seen these heavenly creations? 

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They are TO DIE FOR. 

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If you like pretzels and soft chewy bread, you must tackle your nearest Whole Foods store manager and beg them to start getting these goods. 

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[They are in the baked foods section where you buy individual muffins, rolls, bagels, etc.]

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With hummus, with peanut butter, with nothing at all…I know for a fact, that I could live on bread alone.  As you can see, I’ve had quite a few loaves. 

C is for Cereal what is your favorite kind currently? (just one)

Are you kidding me?  Seriously, didn’t I just discuss this.  Picking one, and only one, is like my personal Sophie’s Choice.  [FYI, I’ve never even seen that movie, but it’s so often referenced, I’m guessing the struggle I face with this question is very similar to her own struggle]

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Three Sisters Graham Crackerz are my current numba one stunnaz. 

D is for Doughnuts, you might not currently be eating them but what kind do you fancy?

When we were little we used to get doughnuts after church and I always chose the old fashioned kind with maple glaze.  Kyle thinks I’m a freak for liking that kind, but the traditional ones aren’t appealing to me at all. 

E is for Eggs, how would you like yours prepared?

As you guys know, I rarely rarely rarely eat eggs, but while in Spain, I couldn’t turn down my all time favorite meal…

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I basically lived on tortilla espanola when I studied abroad in Barcelona, so I relished the opportunity to enjoy Spain’s finest cuisine.

F is for Fat Free, what is your favorite fat free product?

It’s kinda hard to think of products like this.  I know I like skim products, but I don’t know how to sort them in my mind by their fat content.  I’m thinking greek yogurt is the only thing officially designated “fat free” in our fridge.  But I like fruit and veggies and I know (most of) those are fat free too, right? 

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Stonyfield Oikos organic Greek yogurt and Bob’s Red Mill Apple Blueberry granola.  If you’re wondering about the lap photo it was an on-the-go meal. 

G is for Groceries, where do you purchase yours?

Whole Foods.  No ifs, ands, or buts.

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H is for Hot Beverages, what is your favorite hot drink?

Do you really have to ask? 

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COFFEEEEEEEE!

I is for Ice Cream, pick a favorite flavor and add a fun topping.

Anything with chocolate…topped with anything else chocolate-y. 

J is for Jams or Jellies, do you eat them, and if so what kind and flavor?

I pretty much only eat jam in PB&J sandos…and I like almost any berry flavor.  Strawbeezies, blackbizzles, and raspberries are the best of the best.  My mom makes a killer plum jam though (tutorial here).

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K is for Kashi, name your favorite Kashi product?

I can’t really recall the last Kashi product I bought.  I think they have some pretty bombass cereal.  Not a big fan of their bars, though. 

L is for Lunch, what was yours today?

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Hugh Jass salad, apple, Equal Exchange organic extra dark chocolate, & candied ginger.  [I eat the chocolate with the candied ginger – it seriously rocks]

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Plus Sabra hummus and the bestest tortilla around.  I’m talking about Alvarado Street’s sprouted tortillas, yo!

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Were you wondering about that salad I mentioned above?  It was legit.  I swear, there’s no such thing as a bad salad once the ingredient list gets longer than five things…the more the merrier, fasho.  The lettuce was fancy, and had mega organic baby greens including normal things like red and green romaine and crazy things like oak leaf, lollo rosa, tango, organic red and green chard, organic mizuna, organic arugula, organic frisée, and organic radicchio.  Earthbound Farms has really stepped up their products. 

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Aside from the lettuce, there was green bell pepper, carrots, corn, tomato, and kaia foods sprouted pumpkin seeds.

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I fell in love with these after I got a sample at EXPO West.  The flavor isn’t too strong.  It’s perfect as a salad add in because the crunch and spice is just enough to bring some extra pizzazz to veggies. 

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The dressing I’m all about lately is a simple balsamic, but for some reason this Oro Nero Balsamic is better than your average vinegar.  You can get it at Dean & Deluca (or online).

Ok, M through Z will continue in a later post…

Feel free to chime in with whatever letter suites your fancy!

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Adios and bonjour

As promised, here comes the Euro flashback series…out of order, mind you, but better late now than never.

Paris day 1: May 20th

Once upon a time, two girls left Madrid to play in Paris. 

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Ok, I’ll cut the sh!t.  Laura and I said adios to Spain and the rest of our fam and headed off to enjoy some fun in France.  We woke up crazy early, long before the sun was even aware of it’s being a new day.  In the chaos of packing and stressing about what I was forgetting, I only managed to get a few hours of shut eye.  Laura was in the same boat, though, so we were both looking like haggard train wrecks when we stumbled out of the Westin Palace heading for the Plaza de Cibeles

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[No we aren’t ballers, accommodations in Spain were on mom & dad]

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Tip to future travelers: the subway in Madrid doesn’t start running until 6 am.  That ruled out plan A.  Plan B was taking the Atocha station airport buses.  Wrong.  They too begin operations at 6 am.  We had to be at the airport by that time, so it was a good thing we did a little research the night before.  Luckily, we discovered the Plaza de Cibeles was only a bit further of a walk; and more importantly, offered airport buses through the night and early morning. 

So there we were, me with my green monster of a suitcase, and Laura with her mega backpack (I wish I had a photo because she was honestly more mule than human with that thing on her back), doing circles in the Plaza, trying to figure out which stop was the correct one.  We found a nice gent to help us.

I’m pretty sure the conversation went something like this:

American idiots:  Hola?  Sabes donde esta el autobus de aeropuerto express?

Hombre (in spanish):  Ask those guys over there.  They would know, they are doctors.

Us (looking confused):  Ellos?  (pointing to group of men in business(ish) attire)

Homeboy (looking more annoyed now):  Si. 

Us:  Ooookkayyyyyyy?? (exchanging skeptical looks)

We went over to the “doctors” to ask about the bus.  They were very nice.  They were NOT doctors.  Is there some other use of the term doctors in Spain that also means transportation employees?  Because that’s what they were.  We think.  Who knows.  In any event, they pointed us to the correct area over on the side of the Plaza where a line of people with luggage was clearly formed in anticipation of the Airport bus’ arrival.

Soon enough we were onboard, headed to the airport. 

If you’ve ever flown with EasyJet, you know it’s not exactly a luxury airline.  It’s pretty much the Datsun of airplanes.  Unless you are an exceptionally light packer or you are ok with wearing everything you own in transit, you’re likely going to end up paying extra for your baggage.  My advice, travel in pairs.  You get 20 kilos per person (approx. 44 lbs.) or 40 kilos between two people.  My bag was 21 kilos, but Laura saved the day with her 15 kilo pack, thus bringing our collective total to well under the weight allowance.  If you’re thinking that 44 pounds is a lot, you’re right.  Normally I wouldn’t need so much weight, but EasyJet also allows one carry-on.  Not a purse and a carry-on.  ONE.  SINGLE.  Carry-on.  So my computer, camera(s), books, mags, food, wallet, yadda yadda all needed to find a home.  Some made it into my purse, but most got shoved into my suitcase for the flight.  This is why my poundage caused an abnormally heavy weigh in. 

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Laura was kind enough to capture this delightful moment.  Praise be to God we made it safe and sound to Paris.  I slept through most of the flight, though I do remember Laura asking me a few questions at one point.  Can’t be to sure how that conversation went.  I’m sure I was a very entertaining travel buddy since I was basically sleep walking and talking from then until when we got to our hotel.  Later when I asked Laura about something from the flight, she acted like I was speaking in a foreign language, so maybe she wasn’t all there either?

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I do have a particularly fond memory of us buying RER tickets post-flight to take us the heart of Paris.  As we deposited them into the slot in the turn-stall to get into the platform area, we passed a highly confused woman.  I actually laughed out loud as she maniacally waved her old fashioned airplane ticket in front of the RER gate.  Do you have a visual?  Frantic woman.  Train turn-stall.  Airline ticket flapping in the wind.  Somehow she had managed to leave the airport, but was still attempting to use her flight ticket to get somewhere.  Sadly, her two teenage kids were of no help and the three of them stood there blocking everyone else from getting to the train as they continued to wave their tickets all over every part of the gate you could imagine.  They may as well have been rubbing the tickets on their heads, it was about as sane of a maneuver as the one they were going with.  I can pretty much guess how that turned out.  I may have tried to help her, had she not been clearly speaking in tongues.  But probably not.  Ok, ok, truthfully I have no idea what language she was speaking.  Either way, I wasn’t going to be of any help, even if I had mastered Rosetta Stone before embarking on my travels.  The RER was still a mystery to me at that point.

Sooo…back to the commute.  According to the transit map we had quite a few stops on the B3 route until we reached Luxembourg, the closest station to our hotel.  We settled in for a long ride.  I chomped on some Muesli and dreamed of French Press coffee.  Next thing we knew, we were at the stop before ours.  What?  It couldn’t have been so quick?  Had we even made any other stops yet?  Were we about to launch back out of the center of Paris as quickly as we had arrived.  The answer to that, is yes.  Somehow we had made it onto an express train.  Oops!  We bolted for the doors just fast enough to escape a very timely mistake.  The earlier stop added a few extra few blocks to our schlep, but eventually we found the Hotel Excelsior Latin

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It was cute, nice, inexpensive, and in the heart of the Latin Quarters.  Perfect if you ask me! 

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This adorable little plaza was around the corner.  Can you imagine anything more quintessentially Parisian?  Well, maybe you can, what do I know about the city of light!?

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We almost lost our lives in the elevator of death (see above left), and the felt walls were a bit…unique (see above right). 

But we decided it was charming (if nothing else), and what’s not to love about that?  Don’t worry, we delighted in the humor that was the contrast between this hotel and the Westin Palace. 

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We were in the room for fewer than 5 minutes before we were back out in search of breakfast.  I had spotted the famous PAUL a block away, so that was destination number one. 

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Here’s where we first realized our communication shortcomings.  Neither of us knew French.  I mean, I knew the ridiculously basic phrases like “hello” “thank you” and “where’s the metro” as well as the ever practical “another beer, please.”  But aside from that, it was not good. 

I underestimated how helpful it was in Spain being able to speak Spanish. 
Rather than sound like an idiot trying to invent French words, I smiled, spoke in English, and prayed they wouldn’t judge me (too much).

Laura: Tea?  Breakfast?
Barista: Oui.
Me:  Soy?
Barista:  Eh? 
Me:  Lait?  Soy?
Barista:  No.
Me:  Ok.  Merci.

And then I went across the street to Starbucks.  Fail.  Or not.  Depending on how you look at it.  I will admit, I’m a bit embarrassed that I went to Starbucks in the country a coffee press is named after.  But I can’t tell you how many places I tried (unsuccessfully) to get a cafe americano avec soja

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People watching is almost as fun as any other tourist activity and I really do mean that.  We sat at an outdoor table and waited for our drinks to cool…and after a few minutes of soaking in the street scene we headed off to conquer the city on foot.

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Angel on the left, devil on the right…I think it’s supposed to be the reverse, no?

Here’s a brief look at our walking tour: St. Michel –> Notre Dame –> walk along the Seine –> Pont Neuf –> Louvre – > Tuileries –> Champs Elysees –> Pont Alexander III –> Eiffel Tower

And here it is in photos:

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Once we reached the Eiffel Tower, we set out to find lunch.  No longer on mom & dad’s dime, our budget was drastically different from the past weeks’.  We were also both looking for dairy free options.  Sans formage in France, hmmm…what to do, what to do…

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Grocery store!  

Once we saw hummus and babaganoush, it was a no brainer.

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We each got a baguette and piece of fruit too, then set up our little picnic on the lawn next to the Eiffel Tower.

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Laura’s baguette was seedy, mine was au natural.  Also, she got a Perrier whereas I gave into the seductive aspartame bubbly that is Coca Light.

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Then we each shared the dip-ables. 

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Blini did a nice job with the houmous (aka hummus).  It was super thick and had a strong tahini flavor.  The moutabbal (aka babaganoush) was unlike any other baba I’ve tasted, but I liked it a lot!  It was quite dense, but as soon as it warmed to room temp, the oil surfaced and it was more recognizable. 

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Meals like this could make me think twice about French food.  Relaxing, vegan friendly, simple…but best of all, enjoyed with my sister while looking at one of the most iconic monuments in the world.  Not too shabby Paris.

[To be continued…]

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The art of packing food is my specialty.  Much like making my daily work eats (tutorials here), packing food for traveling is a bit of a craft.  Some may find it easier to buy meals at the airport rather than go through the hassle of taking extra baggage through security.  Personally, I’m not one of those people.  I don’t care if it adds 25 pounds of dead weight that I have to schlep by plane, train, and automobile, for me it’s SO worth the energy.  The cost to benefit analysis probably differs depending on your diet and distance, but knowing I won’t have to pay exorbitant prices for crappy food (with limited vegan options) is worth it.  Peace of mind for a peaceful stomach. 

Tips:

  • BYOB (tea bags and empty water bottles) – The way I get around the liquid law is filling up my klean kanteen at the fountain (for free) once I’ve made it through airport security.  Also most places will give you free hot water (some charge 25-50 cents).
  • Skip the salt – Flying causes bloating and there’s no reason to add to that.  I don’t know about everyone else, but I already feel gross within a second of boarding a flight.  So I generally try and ditch the pretzels and salted nuts and drink plenty of fluids.  And get an aisle seat 😉
  • Pack way more than you think you’ll need – This is the same as how I pack for work.  If I have too much stuff, fine, it’s not like I have to eat it all in transit.  Having extra bars and snacks is hardly a disaster.  Being hungry and unprepared, on the other hand, is totally miserable and leads to bad choices due to less than stellar options. 
  • Produce produce produce – Is there anything more portable than fruit?  No.  Apples, bananas, etc. are all naturally ready to bring on the go. 
  • Nibble mindfully – Because of time changes, my body never really knows what’s going on and I end up doing more snacking than eating full meals.  Rather than snack the whole trip long, I make sure I am truly hungry and not just bored.  [In other words, bring lots of magazines, books, movies, crosswords, etc. to keep your mind preoccupied so you aren’t using your mouth instead]

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Veggies, hummus, bread, nuts, dried fruit, cereal, apples, orange, oat bakes, dark chocolate squares.

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Snack central.  Seriously, I have no editing skills.  Just wait ‘til you see everything hidden in that bag:

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Probars, Corazona’s, Larabars, Clif bars, Luna bar, KIND bar, Artisana cashew squeeze pack, Attune bar, Love Grown granola, Udi’s granola, dried fruit

And my latest raw obsession too…

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kaia foods makes really yummy raw foods including sweet things like granolas, as well as savory things like these sprouted pumpkin seeds

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The good news is that I will have plenty of bars leftover to throw in my bag.  So when I’m struggling in Paris, I will have backup options and then some. 

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Hummus and dip-ables (carrots, celery, bread).

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Produce in zoom.  The salad is pretty much just romaine, carrots, corn, and avocado…with Trader Joe’s faux chicken on top. 

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I’ve had these before and they are pretty good.  They remind me of the same “chik’n” that The Veggie Grill makes. 

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It’s soy based with vital wheat gluten too.  It comes with some seasoning on it, which lends itself to a Mexican flavored meal.  Hence the Chipotle-salad-esque meal.  

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I only kept the soy meat separate for commute purposes…it will be added on top once it’s time to dig into the greens. 

Now about those “oat bakes”…

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I decided microwaved “bakes” were a smart portable option instead of oatmeal.  So I turned to Ashley, the queen of breakfast bakes.

The first one I made was a spin on her ba-nilla bake

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I have to say, almond extract is quite an interesting ingredient!  I’m going to have to get some of my own soon (my mom shocked me by having it in her cupboard, but I should have known she’d have it).

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Where my recipe differs from hers is my grain and milk choices.  I opted for oats instead of buckwheat.  I also skipped the almonds and replaced the almond milk with soy.  Since there was almond extract in the bake already, I decided on soy milk.  I also threw in golden raisins and dried cherries because I think tart dried fruit goes so well with vanilla.  Otherwise, it was pretty much the same recipe.

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Mixity mix. 

Ba-nilla Oat Breakfast Bake [serves 1]

*adapted from this recipe

  • 1/4 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1T chia seeds or 1 flax egg [1T ground flax meal + 2.5T warm water, whisked] or 1 egg white
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 1T maple syrup
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1.5 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t almond extract
  • 1/4 t baking powder

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Here it is after just 2 minutes in the microwave.

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This photo steamed up the camera lens, but you can still see how it’s like a baked good as opposed to a bowl of oats. 

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The ease of this is so mind blowing.  Now, I haven’t tasted it yet, but I did lick the spoon, so I am pretty sure it’s going to rock. 

The second “oat bake” I made was my own recipe using up the second half of the banana and whatever I could find in my parents’ kitchen.

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Frozen blackberries?  Sure, why not! 

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Nuts & Berries Breakfast Oat Bake [serves 1]

  • 1/4 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup instant oats
  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 1T chia seeds or 1 flax egg [1T ground flax meal + 2.5T warm water, whisked] or 1 egg white
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 T crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1.5 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t baking powder

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Once they had cooled I packed them up in tinfoil. 

I’m pretty sure I’m covered in the food department.  Now, hopefully I won’t get to Spain and realize I am missing my toothbrush or something. 

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Adios amigos! 

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This week is nurses appreciation week (hooray!) but unfortunately the breakfast potluck party on my unit was the day I left for vacay.  Had I not just finished night shift I may have stuck around, but I was so tired and ready to start my two weeks on holiday, I didn’t care too much about free bagels.  As soon as I gave report to the day shift nurse I was mentally checked out.  I may as well have been in Spain on Thursday.  Sad face.  Next year I’m going to bring yummy vegan food to the celebration though.  Nothing like vegan waffles to make a perfect work day. 

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I hosted my own celebration after getting home from work instead. 

Raisin Bran + banana + blueberries + almond milk (not quite as grand)

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I think that bran flakes are the best thing since sliced bread.  Well, unless it’s my home-made bread.

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Speaking of. 

Could I slice it thicker?  Probably not.  

This bread and hummus combo was actually a post-nap snack.  I only managed to sleep from 8 to 11 am, and then I was up and at ‘em dead tired.

I still had mega errands to do before leaving Santa Monica. 

1) Get a mani/pedi

2) Buy a dress for the weekend (we are currently in Napa for a friend’s wedding)

3) Return clothes that I ordered online

4) Caffeinate my face

5) Buy sulfate-free (Brazilian Blowout friendly) shampoo/conditioner for my trip

6) Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

7) Print out French Open tickets (yup, I’m going to Paris after Spain)

7) Pack!!

I managed to cross every single thing off my list by 5 pm (well, not #6, but that’s a late night task anyway)…at which point I dug into a massive bowl of fruta.  [Does speaking in Espanol for the rest of this post count as celebrating Cinco de Mayo?]

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For dinner, Kyle’s former work colleague from NYC was visiting us so we decided to show him a fun night out. 

I didn’t bring my camera out, but we went to La Sandia and it was PACKED.  It took longer to get drinks than food.  Serrrriously. 

The chips and guac (prepared table-side) were spectacular.  Afterwards we hit up my favorite bar in Santa Monica, Copa d’Oro, where I sipped my favorite cocktail of all time, the Moscow Mule.  Ginger in copious amounts.  Yes. 

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Almost ready(ish)?  I packed so haphazardly, I don’t really feel that comfortable about it.  I am usually so organized, so I feel very unsettled about the contents of my luggage.  It’s also hard when you’re packing for another event prior to leaving the country (ie a wedding). 

Either way, I’ll figure out if I overlooked anything soon!  I have my passport and plane tickets though, so I figure anything else can be sorted out in the moment.  Any horror stories with traveling you want to share?  A friend (actually the one who is getting married this weekend) bought a one-way flight for the reverse route he intended to and didn’t realize it until he got to the airport.

On Friday morning, Kyle and I dropped off our house guest at his hotel and hit the road.  Nor Cal or bust.  The drive was relatively painless (says the girl who didn’t even get behind the wheel). 

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I’m not sure who was more excited to arrive home, me or the pups.  They greeted us rather enthusiastically (under-statement of the week) and after throwing the tennis ball for what seemed like a decade, they were finally worn out. 

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While the dogs were happy to have humans back at the casa (my parents have only been gone a week, but they are so damn needy); however, our cat was prancing around, clearly content on having the entire place to herself.

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If you’re reading this mom and dad, she has been on every countertop.  And I’m not even bothering to shoo her off (this is why I’m her favorite).

I tried to get my heart rate up by going on a run around the neighborhood, but it was a pretty poor effort. 

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Kyle and I ordered take-out from a local sushi joint for dinner.  I’ve blogged about Kane before (I love this place). 

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We got lots of rolls (most for Kyle) and a seaweed salad (for moi).  I had a brilliant idea of making a monster salad with an avocado I brought from Santa Monica and the sunomono deliciousness.

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I couldn’t bear the idea of letting a perfectly ripe avocado go to waste in our apartment while we were gone, so I brought it with me.  Who else would do this (aside from maybe this girl)? 

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Check out my perfectly manicured nails.  :) 

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Avocado, seaweed, cucumber, spring greens and that’s it.  Such an amazing dinner. 

I had heaps of ginger too because that’s almost the best part about sushi.  Almost. 

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Yup, I ate on the floor. 

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