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Archive for the ‘seitan’ Category

Hooray!  I’m so so glad you guys like the new look.  I could never have done it without Julie’s services, so if you’re looking for a blog makeover, she’s your gal.  Seriously.  She took a sketch of a header I drew and made it into the reality that you now see.  It’s amazing.  And she was ever-so-patient with my (nonexistent) technology skills.  Not that it’s over…there are still some kinks to be worked out, but for the most part things are running smoothly. 

Feel free to click around and let me know what you think.  Any feedback is greatly appreciated so I can make my site as user friendly (and pretty) as possible.  Aside from the font, which people have mentioned can be difficult to read, let me hear your thoughts!

Moving on…

Night shift steam rolled on by these past two days. 

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I actually really lucked out with my patient load…not only were they the sweetest group of people, but they were stable and compliant and slept through the night.  In the words of Michael Scott: win win win.

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Now that I’m riding my bike to work, it allows for a more restful day too.  I don’t feel rushed and/or anxious about when I’m going to squeeze in exercise (while still letting myself sleep in some) and my commute time is always the same.  For those unfamiliar with LA traffic, having a constant like that is invaluable. 

Biking to work means I can leave the apartment at 5:45 pm, arrive at the hospital at 6:15 pm, clean up, change into scrubs, relax, and I’m ready to get my nurse on when 7 pm rolls around.  Much better than guessing how the day’s 405/Wilshire drama is going to go down (my commute by car can take anywhere between 15 and 60 minutes, no joke).  That construction is getting to be too much stress! 

Next month they are closing the entire freeway down (July 15-18th) and the hospital is already looking to recruit staff to spend the night.  I predict a riot.  Or maybe a plot for J.J. Abrams’ next movie…

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The only thing you need to know about this bowl of oats is that it was made with almost as much peanut butter and raisins as oats

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The combo of PB&R (not to be confused with the beer PBR) makes breakfast (or early dinner in my case) taste like cookie dough. Anyone else think that raisins are very underrated in the oatmeal world?  Or maybe you never consider the rankings of breakfast ingredients like I do…  Eh.  Your loss. 

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Work eats were packed, as per usual…

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Sidekicks of mixed nuts, Three Sisters honey graham cereal (obsessed!!!), apples, and cherries.

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Salad with veggies and grains galore, topped with chopped seitan

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This salad was an everything in the fridge kind of situation.  In other words, a delicious, one-of-a-kind beast.  It fueled me all through the night.  Also, I had fun coworkers to work with, which always makes shifts fun and fast.

How is your work commute?  Do you drive?  Bus?  Subway?  Is it the same every day or does traffic come into play?

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Oh night shift, how you disrupt my sleep cycle.

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How’s that for a cluttered night stand?!  The ear plugs are the latest addition to help with my daytime snoozing sitch. 

Ugh.  Again, I slept minimally after noche dos of nursing. 

Side note: I’m always hesitant to use that word when talking about night shift because I get weird google search terms…sorry to all the moms nursing their newborns all night long searching the internet for nursing related advice…only to click on my blog and not find anything helpful. 

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My packed food was perfection.  I’m completely obsessed with this saladCaprese Caesar pasta salad has made up approximately 87.4% of my recent diet.  Yesterday Kyle had it for back to back meals.  After having it for lunch, he said he couldn’t stop thinking about it all day and knew there was no way he was having anything else for dinner.  That’s how I know it’s a winner.  It’s already gone now and I’m considering making it again in this very moment.

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The rest of my packed up food was typical late night snack fare: apples, nuts, & dried fruit.

When I got home, Kyle wasn’t there…I managed to track him down and decided to meet up with him for a decaf coffee before heading back home to snooze.

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Like I mentioned above, I wasn’t able to get much rest.  Around 11 am I got up to make breakfast. 

Two things I’m in love with at the moment: organic light soymilk and fresh apricots in my cereal

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The first part of the raisin bran has a disproportionate(ly low) amount of raisins.  I find I have to dig to get them because they are all at the bottom.  Annoying, but worth it.  And like any cereal addict, I didn’t stop after my first bowl…but I did manage to limit myself to two of the above servings. 

Because breakfast was (a) more of a brunch, (b) rather generous, and (c) not followed by any activity whatsoever, I wasn’t hungry until way later in the afternoon.  I literally sat in my PJs on the couch for hours on end.  Marathon TV time.  Mega internet action.  I wasn’t even trying to fight it.  Eventually I am going to have to start some kind of training plan for this triathlon in July…and I’m still waiting for the motivation to start that plan.  Until then, pajama-rama!

Around five I started craving food again, so I tried to brainstorm some dinner possibilities.  What I really wanted was sushi, but I had zero interest in leaving the apartment, so I tried to see if anything on hand could mimic the flavors and satisfy my hankering. 

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Let’s break it down now.  Sushi rolls are made of rice, veggies, and avocado.  Ditch the roll and you have this masterpiece…

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Rice –> Quinoa

Fish –> Seitan

Avocado –> Extra avocado

Soy Sauce –> Bragg’s liquid aminos

I also threw in chopped carrots & cucumber and edamame and then drowned the whole thing in more Bragg’s. 

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In other words, I made a deconstructed sushi plate…with some vegan alterations.  It was amazing.  Avocado was most certainly the star of the meal.  But the Bragg’s, seitan, and quinoa combo was a veryclose runner-up.  I’m going to have to make sushi out of the roll more often. 

And in the spirit of deconstructed things…

Old table.

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Broken down.

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New table.

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Now we can have dinner parties…for four?

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Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to honor my inner chocolate monster.

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My salt tooth has rebounded in a major way and I am in the middle of intense sweet tooth marathon. 

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Dark chocolate plus candied ginger are a hard-to-beat combo, but if there’s one thing that can trump the dynamic duo, it’s Annie’s chocolate grahams

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Annie’s Bunny Grahams are superb on their own, but once you start dipping them in almond butter…

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My friends, it’s indescribable. 

Mmmm…choooooocolate.

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One of the perks of being a food blogger is you get to try new things that you may not ordinarily try.  For free. 

While I was in Europe, I received a Tasting Box by Foodzie

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It had all kinds of goodies including:

Dried Pineapple from Peeled Snacks – Brooklyn, NY
Traditional Alfajores from Sabores del Sur – San Francisco, CA
Lemon Poppyseed & Almond Biscotti from Biscotti Bari – Petaluma, CA
Pure Southern Iced Tea from Pluff Iced Tea – Bluffton, SC
Assorted Fresh Herb Sea Salts from Woody’s Gourmet – Campbell, CA
Classic Seaweed Snack from Sea Snax – Los Angeles, CA

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The peeled snacks were the first to go.  For 12 hour shifts I’m always looking for easy on-the-go eats that are healthy and practical (meaning portable and not messy).  These caught my eye because they were both organic and pure.

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See that ingredient list?  Just one thing, organic pineapple.

You see, when it comes to dried fruit, there’s often some additives involved (sulphur dioxide) and occasionally extra sugar sneaks in, too.  Dried pineapple rings used to be my favorite snack, but the out of control sugar content actually got to be too much for me.  In my opinion, fruit doesn’t need help in the sweetness department, it’s naturally perfect on it’s own.  And as far as preserving the fruit’s color (which is why other companies use sulpher dioxide), I actually prefer eating food that don’t look like it has been plucked from the Land of Oz.  No offense to the Lollipop Guild.

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I was nervous the pineapple chunks were going to be a bit tougher, given the natural state of the fruit, but I’m happy to report they were soft and flavorful.  I could easily see myself snacking on them all day (and night) long without breaking my jaw from chewing. 

Peeled snacks also offers mango, apricot, apple, banana, fig (!!!), and cherry flavors, which I’m pretty excited to try as well.

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As for the rest of my work food…I was on night shift, so it was more snack heavy than my day shift eats are.  I had roasted almonds, candied ginger, Hersey’s special extra dark chocolate, dried apricots, two apples, and a big salad.

My salad was bit of a beast actually.  It had spring greens, roasted butternut squash, bell peppers, edamame, carrots, and those crazy addictive sesame sticks.  I’m 100% certain I could put those sesame sticks in every meal and I’d love it.  Why is salt so good?

After I got home from my 12 hours, I failed at falling asleep right away, so instead I made oats.

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I kept adding more and more ingredients to the oats…

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Unmeasured amounts of:

  • almonds
  • shredded coconut
  • carob chips
  • diced apple
  • mashed banana
  • raisins
  • cinnamon
  • Sunbutter

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Just throw it in the bag…uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh.  [Son I’m from Brooklyn, what it look like!?]

Anyone else thinks of Fabolous when adding multiple ingredients to a pot?  No?  Just me?

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FYI, I don’t cut corners when it comes to nutbutters. 

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Normally I’m not an advocate of food induced comas, but after all-nighters, you gotta do what you gotta do.  And this girl needed to zonk out. 

This bowl (followed by a second one) helped me get into the very necessary sleep state. 

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Because you can’t do a second night shift when you’ve only slept two hours.  Oh wait.  Yes you can.  [It sucks, but it’s doable]

Sadly, I woke back up before noon and had no success napping the rest of the day.  And then back to night shift I went…

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I’m not even sure what meal I’d call this since timing is irrelevant in zombie-night-shift-land.  This combo is a staple for me – carrots, seitan, quinoa, and Bragg’s liquid aminos.  I rarely take pics of it anymore because it’s such a basic meal, but I love it immensely. 

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I also love these caramel dark chocolate almond clusters immensely.  And since they cost FAR too much for the rate I’m downing them (is a box not a single serving?), I’m going to have to learn to make them myself.

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I don’t think it’s overly complicated.  I don’t know if you can mess up chocolate and nuts.  And even if you do, the “mess up” will probably be delicious too. 

Super random question: When you buy a new product, what do you think is the most important thing that determines if you purchase it or not?  Does the cute package catch your eye?  Do you put the nutritional info first?  Are you more likely to buy from recognizable brands (that you’ve gotten other items from) before other lesser known ones?

I used to think that the cuter the package, the more likely I was to buy something.  But nowadays it’s an item’s price and ingredients that dictate what goes in my cart.

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Spanish seitan sighting

Happy to report Madrid has the goods…

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More details later, but for now, Al Natural is located on Calle Zorrilla, 11 and I’d recommend getting reservations if you’re going for a normal (European) timed dinner.  We went at 9 and it was hard to get in (to be fair, we are a party of five).

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I got seitan and it was amazing.  First time I’ve been crazy full in Espana thus far.  There were SO many things on the menu I wanted, and my family was all equally impressed (they have pasta, dairy, and chicken dishes too).  We are definitely going back again this coming week (yes, it was that good).

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I promise more thorough reviews will be coming.  I’m taking diligent notes and mega megabites of photos.

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Often I have a family sized tub of hummus and [fill in the blank] for dinner and call it a night.

Sometimes I include veggies.

Rarely do I have the suggested portion size.

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Often the same meal plan can be created with nut butter.

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Sometimes I add frozen bananas to my morning oats.

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Rarely does my oatmeal have fewer than three ingredients (nut butter, fresh fruit, dried fruit, cinnamon, stevia, coconut, etc.).

Often I’ll crave nothing but fruit for an entire day.

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Sometimes I eat 4 apples in one sitting (but some days apples are trumped by mangos).

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Rarely do I go a day without eating at least one piece of fruit. 

Often I forget my coupons at home.

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Sometimes I remember and beat the system (look at how my 2 lbs. of loose carrots cost less than the packaged 2 lbs. of carrots). 

Rarely do I forget my grocery bags, thus saving myself an extra 5 cents per BYOB.

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Often I hoard things (like Tropical Traditions’ coconut flakes).

Sometimes I share these goodies with you (coming soon!).

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Rarely do they disappoint me (ok, never).

Often I wonder if my love of tropical fruits means I am meant to live on an island. 

Sometimes I play the lottery (when it’s realllllly high) to win that island lifestyle.

Rarely do I win (ok, never).

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Often I wonder how I’m not orange from my B-carotene themed meals.

Sometimes I wish the self tanning effect of said colored meals would be more apparent.

Rarely does my pale skin cooperate. 

Your turn!  Often, sometimes, rarely…aaaand go!

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Before I get into the latest and greatest from the hippie kitchen, I wanted to say thank you to everyone who took the time to offer their thoughts on yesterday’s post.  The discussion certainly got more heated than I anticipated (and some comments were a bit harsh), but it was great to read how others felt about sharing your views with your family/friends.  Being brave enough to stand up for your beliefs while not pressuring others to feel guilty about having differing opinions is definitely a fine line…and it seems that many feel there’s a time and place for being outspoken (as well as a time and place for simply shutting your lid).  I’m very grateful for everyone who commented in a thoughtful and respectful way.  I tried to respond to as many of the comments as I could.

In the meantime, however, I was at the hospital doing my thang.  As a result, I have compiled quite a collection of work eats on my computer…

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Breakfast #1 – granola by Big Sky Bread (an Alabama based company with cute home-made wholesome products).  It’s actually a granola plank not granola since it’s one big crispy crunchy granola block.  They also make bread products (as you’d guess from the company name), all of which feature their stone ground whole wheat flour that they make in the bakery every morning.

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So how did I discover this adorable company?  Well, Big Sky Bread was at Expo West and they were kind enough to hook me up with this sample.  For some reason I have been saving it and saving it, waiting for the perfect time to try it.  Well, I’m not sure when I thought that time would be, but the other day I spotted it in the pantry and it was exactly what I wanted at that exact moment.  So I guess that makes it the perfect time.

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You can (kinda) see the nutritional stats above.  At two servings a package it rounds out to 400 kcals a pop.  The granola planks are basically a lightly sweetened oatmeal base with whole almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.  It was crispy and crunchy like granola, not chewy like a granola bar so I had to break it into bite sized pieces in the bag so the crumbs wouldn’t get all over me (thus enabling me to sprinkle them atop yogurt later).  The flavor reminded me EXACTLY of these bars I used to get at the Union Square WF in NYC.  I haven’t seen them since moving to CA and now I realize how much I miss them.  I think it’s the sesame and pumpkin seeds that makes the taste so unique.

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Breakfast #2 – oats with cinnamon, dried cherries, and Tropical Traditions coconut peanut butter

Dried cherries are a really good way to bring a new twist to an old simple morning routine.

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Lunch part I – Boca vegan burger (lazy much?) and apple x2, orange x1, Bakery on Main Cinnamon Apple Granola Bar

Bakery on Main is another Expo West discovery.  They make both granola and granola bars and I got a big ‘ol shipment of their goodies to try out.  🙂  The granola bar kinda reminded me of those Nutri-Grain bars (by Kellogg’s).  The texture and flavor seem nearly identical (I think?), but the ingredients are way better in terms of being whole foods without preservatives or additives.

[NO GMOs • NO Dairy • NO Casein • NO Wheat • NO Trans Fat • NO Cholesterol]

I liked the flavor, but the bar was really small and therefore didn’t have as much staying power as I typically like in my on-the-go options.  It did taste just like a bite of the top of an apple pie, though.  So there’s definitely a yummy factor going on.  As an FYI, the soft & chewy bars are gluten free (made with certified gluten free oats, amaranth and quinoa).  They also have flax and chia seeds (hello healthy omegas!).

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Lunch II – leftover purple potato salad with peas for extra green

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All together now!

Night shift doesn’t require quite as large of a line up.

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I’ve been craving lots and lots of fruit at night.  Apples and cuties and mangoes, oh my!

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I know for a fact I looked like a primitive cave(wo)man as I ate this.  I had juice dripping from my chin to my elbows.  Not attractive.  Maybe I’ll cut it up first next time, huh?  😉

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This salad was a twist on one of my favorite recipes of my mom’s.  Growing up she made a bomb a$$ poppyseed salad with avocado, butter lettuce and cantaloupe.  It is seriously fantastic.  Unfortunately, my dairy-free life now makes the dressing she used a no-go.

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Enter Follow Your Heart!  They make oil-free salad dressings that are vegan and this Citrus Poppy Seed flavor is a new one!  However, unlike the other oil-free salad dressing on the market, this one doesn’t compensate for the fat with excessive amounts of sugar.  Have you ever noticed that?  So many fat-free dressings are jam packed with other sh!t to make your taste buds forget that you are missing out on the oil.  Not this one.  It’s got the same pure and wholesome ingredients that you’d find in any home-made dressing, minus the oil.

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Vegan.  Gluten free.  Dairy free.

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Strawberry and Avocado Poppy Seed salad

  • spinach
  • clover sprouts
  • carrots
  • strawberries
  • avocado
  • dried cherries
  • Follow Your Heart Citrus Poppy Seed salad dressing

I have to be honest, normally I don’t use salad dressings, aside from basics like extra virgin olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar (or Bragg’s liquid aminos).  But ever since I received Follow Your Heart’s line of vegan dressings, I’ve been experimenting more and more.   And loving them more and more.

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This salad is a winner.

And when I got home from a loooong 12 hours, I had overnight oats waiting for me in the fridge.

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Oats, frozen blueberries and strawberries, dried cherries, coconut peanut butter.

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Maybe it’s the change in the weather, or maybe it’s just a random phase, but I’m really into chilled oats lately.  After I cook them, I put them in the freezer and then eat them so they are thick like cookie dough.  Thick thickity thick.

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Night shift numero dos was less fruity, more hummus-y.  There was still a big bad salad (because me and fiber are more of a dynamic duo than Gary and Ace).

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Seitan Spinach salad

  • spinach
  • clover sprouts
  • carrots
  • bell peppers
  • log seitan (this version with bell peppers)
  • Bragg’s liquid aminos

This salad was great, but the seitan was definitely the star of the show.

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Lots of people have been making my log seitan – a true testament to how simple and delicious it really is.  I swear, you’ll be blown away by it, and then you’ll make it again and again and again (just like me!).  C’mon, what are you waiting for?  Give it a shot!

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Pita pieces and Haig’s roasted red pepper hummus rounded out the meal, along with the (lone) apple and a lot lot lot of candied ginger.

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Once again I had chilled oats waiting for me when I got home…with blueberries dried cherries and TJ’s peanut flour all mixed in.

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Oh, did I forget to mention my latest stock pile?  Yeahhhhhh.  Once I found out peanut flour was getting the axe from Trader Joe’s I quickly jumped into action (aka called my mom and begged her to hit up the local TJ’s before we came upon hard times).  Hoarding mode much?  She did me proud.  🙂 I better make these last!

And as if things weren’t good enough already, I received another package in the mail.  My pantry is officially stocked!

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Are you a packrat?  Hoarder?  Pantry supply collector? 

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First of all, this venti soy misto was FREE, because believe it or not, there are some perks (beyond heart palpitations) to my Gold Card membership and caffeine addiction. 

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I had to go to the hospital on Tuesday even though I wasn’t working.  Enduring an early wake up call and morning traffic without the promise of a paycheck demands a special treat – hence the Starbeezies.

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I had breakfast prepared for the waiting room.

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[Yes I got odd looks as I busted out a tupperware of oats in a waiting room]

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This genius creation was overnight oats with cinnamon, NuNaturals vanilla stevia and frozen strawberries.  But then I added vanilla soymilk and more (fresh) strawberries in the AM.

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Lots of vanilla and lots of strawberries.  Lots of yum.

By the time I got home my one-track-mind was so focused on hummus, my hand was on this tub before I’d even hung up my jacket or set down my purse.

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I found it at Whole Foods and it looked like the most thick, creamy, and dense chickpea dip ever.  EVER!  I still have no idea what company makes it.  What I do know is that it’s raw and contains chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and that’s pretty much it. 

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Can you see that creamy amazing consistency?!?  It was thicker than Jenny from the Block.  It was heavenly.  In all honesty, I could have eaten it with nothing but a spoon.  Instead, I dipped pitas, carrots, and apple slices in it. 

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I know people think I’m crazy for dipping apple slices in hummus (it wouldn’t be the first time people have told me I inappropriately pair hummus with other foods), but I swear it’s good.  Savory and sweet were meant to mingle peeps!

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Turlock whole wheat pitas are becoming available at more and more Whole Foods locations, so please do yourself a favor and find them.  They are the fluffiest pitas I’ve ever tasted.  Like beautiful carb clouds.  Now, my question is this: who in their right mind thinks this tub is going to be more than one serving?  For the record, it’s supposed to be 8 servings.  I finished it all though.  Obviously. 

Afternoon checklist:

  • Run – check!
  • Dessert – check!

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I tried a twist on my log seitan recipe, this time adding in chopped bell peppers

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I admit, it looks like a pair of turds, but dayam, it smelled freakin’ phenom!

I added some to Wednesday’s work lunch.

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Spinach, sprouts, steamed sweet potatoes, carrots, and peppered seitan

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Also pre-packed for Wed…

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Oats, candied ginger, and orange slices.

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When my parents visited a while ago they brought a ton of oranges from their tree…and while I’m not typically a big citrus person, these have captured my fancy. 

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I also had two apples and dried apples that Kyle brought me home last weekend. 

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They had the texture of stale apple rings, but the flavor of fresh apples.  They were so good.  A bit hard to chew, but still, very very tasty. 

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And then, of course, there was my oaty breakfast of champions.  Oats, cinnamon, NuNatural’s vanilla stevia and Tropical Traditions coconut peanut butter. 

Little bit of sweet and a little bit of savory.  Happy belly! 

Million dollar question: hummus vs nut butter?

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