Cooking, Baking, Both

Here I am, enjoying my last week in Richmond. I’ve been busy making plans so I can see all my dear friends before I leave, and crossing off my bucket-list of things to experience in Richmond. I’m also looking forward to being reunited with my mother (hasn’t been that long since I last saw her, but still…), my best friend, and the beach. I’m just imagining myself basking in the sun, eating papaya from the backyard, while ohhh yes figuring out the beginning of this new part of my life–after college.

Weary of the frozen pizza… even if it’s Amy’s!
After having this in my freezer for probably a year, and as part of my effort to clearing my pantry/kitchen out…

I finally opened up my box of Amy’s Roasted Vegetable, no-cheese pizza. After hearing so many great things about it, I bought it so I could have it when I didn’t have time to cook. Well, since I cooked a lot in batches this past school year that time never came around. So I just had it when one day I was in the mood for pizza. So what’d I think? It was surprisingly and fortunately yummy!

Remember when I was trying one new cheese a week?

If you don’t remember I don’t blame you. That venture stopped almost a year ago since I didn’t have a car anymore. Good cheese can be expensive, but luckily Trader Joe’s made it affordable. So no car meant no more trips to Trader Joe’s. No Trader Joe’s meant less thoughts about trying new cheeses. Since my step-dad has been in town though, on the weekends we’ve been going there and I picked up a block of Idiazabal cheese. It’s made from sheep’s milk, and has that savory nutty flavor that I taste in most Spanish cheeses. I baked it over Amy’s cheese-less pizza… making it no longer cheese-less, but even tastier.

A spreadable version of my vegan split pea soup on toast spread with Vegenaise.

I thought I’d sneak in a picture of something random I ate.

Incredibly tasty vegetable dish

I had brussels sprouts and mushrooms on hand so when I stumbled upon this recipe for ‘Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Wild Mushrooms‘ I made it right away! This is great for a side dish.

I recently visited the Virginia Center for Architecture.

The exterior and interior of this place are really something to marvel at.

The Vertical Garden Exhibition
16th century linenfold wood panels
Instead of bricks!

Let’s rewind to while my mom was visiting. I had bought some turnips when I was out grocery shopping for her stay. I don’t think I’ve actually cooked turnips before so I looked up some recipes I thought may taste good.

I wish I could remember the recipe but these were roasted with onions in a maple-mustard sauce.

Turnips taste like a slightly bitter potato, so I also made a turnip mash.

I just prepared this similarly to how I would make mashed potatoes.

Did you know that turnip lanterns are an old tradition? “Since inaugural Halloween festivals in Ireland and Scotland, turnips (rutabaga) have been carved out and used as candle lanterns. At Samhain, candle lanterns carved from turnips — samhnag — were part of the traditional Celtic festival. Large turnips were hollowed out, carved with faces and placed in windows, used to ward off harmful spirits. At Halloween in Scotland in 1895, masqueraders in disguise carried lanterns made out of scooped out turnips.”

Source.

Lately I’ve been in the mood for crisp and refreshing foods.

I pretty much followed this recipe for Raw Vegan Waldorf Salad with Apple Chia Dressing, except I didn’t have dried cranberries on hand so I used raisins instead. This satisfied my need for something cooling in such a delicious way.

Remember when I made that pancake omelet?

Well, I got to making pancakes with chocolate chips this time to go with local fresh strawberries, although this time I didn’t make the batter into one big omelet.

With a few drizzles of agave syrup
Mmm chocolate chip pancake sandwiched in between a strawberry and some chocolate hazelnut butter.
This breakfast was full of delicious bites.
This time around for a potluck I made snickerdoodle blondies

These were a hit, and were served with a yummy blueberry pomegranate ice cream from a local creamery.

I also brought coconut cream cookies!

I had leftover coconut cream so I thought these cookies would be a great way to use up the cream. I don’t bake oftehn since I’m a small crowd, but when there’s a larger crowd I pull out the recipes I’ve been wanting to try. Baking is something that brings a lot of happiness to my heart because of how easy it is to share. And when you’re sharing something yummy then the love you give gets sent right back to you!

Would you consider yourself more of a baker or a cook? And what do you love about them?

I Can Almost See Clearly

So ladies and gentlemen, this chicka completed a philosophy exam today that took over 7 hours. Whoa mama! I just have to finish up an essay and then I’m done. Finito.

But let’s begin!

Oh how I love thee homemade granola!

I loosely followed this recipe by using things I had on hand, and instead I did half maple syrup and half apple-maple syrup. I also added in some coconut extract, raisins, sultanas aka golden raisins, white chocolate chips, and shredded coconut. Note for next time: bake at a lower temperature. Also, I loved the mix pre-baking as well! Seriously though, one of my favorite combinations during the warmer months is granola + Greek yogurt. And there’s something extra satisfying about having granola you made yourself. Doesn’t that go with everything?

I can't wait to make my next batch! Any suggestions?

Starting off the day by choosing a cute outfit!

I had my last Amy's Texas burger alongside some sweet potato wedges.

For the sweet potato wedges I just cut up two potatoes, tossed them in canola oil, then doused them with Old Bay Seasoning. Then I baked them in the oven till they were done.

I also got to try out something new!

The people over at Bone Suckin’ Sauce contacted me after seeing my love for their BBQ sauce. I had never tried their mustard so they sent me a package with a jar of their sweet hot variation and their classic mustard. I had no idea that they had all these other products like salsas, teriyaki sauces, seasonings, and rubs.

Check out the bits of jalapeno peppers!

The sweet hot was definitely hot with a hint of sweetness. The classic flavor was similar but not as hot. At first I was thrown off by the color, but not to fear because all of their sauces are all natural. And if you like thick sauces then this is great! Since I don’t eat things with bones in them I’ll just say that these mustards were “finger lickin’ good” just like the BBQ sauce.

Let’s rewind to last Friday. Since it was the first Friday of the month that meant that Richmond’s monthly art walk was taking place. I love it because not only do you get to check out galleries, but I’m always bumping into friends, vendors, and good food.

This isn't just any old bus.

They bring the farm to you!

I talked to Mark, the guy who helped start Farm to Family about a few things. One of the things he mentioned was their plan: they want to make a documentary of a year they’re going to live off what the things they sell on the bus. Not only do they sell produce, but cheese, eggs, milk, and meats as well. They want to emphasize that a person can live healthily off of local, sustainable, and seasonable foods. They’ll be doing monthly doctor check-ups to make sure they’re in tip-top condition. He also said that this is open to anyone else who is up for the challenge. Not only would it be an experience, but you also get to write a chapter in the book with your personal account. They plan on starting next month and I wish them the best of luck!

Saw lots of art of course!

And showed some support to some friends that were playing in a courtyard on a perfect night.

With some of my ladies and Matilda before she left.

Afterwards we went to Ipanema for the second time that week!

No complaints because the food, the service, the atmosphere, and the company was amazing!

The thing I love about eating out with people I'm close to is that I know that nobody minds sharing.

I just ordered the mulligatawny soup since I already had dinner and some snacks not too long beforehand.

Eventually we had to move inside because there was a drunk guy with a knife standing right behind me and he wanted to start a fight with some random guy. Luckily, the man was arrested. I guess he forgot the school’s police station was right across the street. After this meal we dubbed this the new place to go eat and then Cous Cous as the bar we frequent, since we headed over there afterwards.

Now remember how I left off my last post with a see you later to Matilda? Well here are a few things in my life that have made it more bearable. I know I may sound like a crazy dog lady, but I just love her! Everytime I walk into my bedroom I’m expecting to see her lounging around on my armchair.

Vintage hair accessories

It's all in the details.

Waking up to broken pipes that erupt through the asphalt and cause flooding!

Friends helping friends with their fashion lines!

One of my old professors/friends has been needing some extra helping hands to make things for her fashion line, Thief & Bandit. Also, she recently had the most adorable son! She was so nice to offer tea, coconut macaroons, and I just loved the smell of toasting raisin bread wafting through the air as we worked. She’s actually going to be featured on Etsy’s front page so definitely keep an eye out for her!

And banana "soft-serve" with Cacao Bliss.

So ending on that delicious note, I hope you’re all enjoying your week so far. The end of my semester is so near I can taste it. And it tastes divine!!!

Celebrations and the Wonderful World of Fast Meals

Hello everybody! Let me start off this post with a review. Awhile ago I was contacted  by the kind people over at Farm Rich to try out some of their frozen snacks. Taking a look at their site, I was excited about the choices so I happily accepted! Not to mention I love snacking. I went to the store to redeem my coupon and I chose the mozzarella bites. I was sad to not see as many choices as I had seen on the website. Another thing to note is the price. I noticed that these were expensive, and I really couldn’t imagine myself shelling out that much for snacks. There is a bright side though! I did like these little bites! They’re even better if you serve them with an awesome marinara sauce or in my case, artichoke scarpetta. Look at how ooey-gooey the mozzarella is–yum!

Mozzarella bites!
What are these egg-shaped balls?

Delicious Armenian red lentil patties. Here I served them with tamarind-date chutney, diced onion, and flat-leaf parsley. The recipe is easy and doesn’t take much time to make.

I had this Amy’s tamale pie as a yummy nighttime snack while baking…
Baklava!

It was one of my best friend’s birthday recently so I made her one of her favorite desserts. This lady has great taste. I have never made anything with puff pastry before so this was definitely fun. Since she’s quite picky about what makes good baklava I was a bit nervous. I’m the same way when it comes to my two favorites: tiramisu and carrot cake.

Delicious and birthday girl approved!
We went to a local sushi place to celebrate.
Best miso soup ever and mine had lots of tofu.

Bean Curd Roll

Oshinko Roll

I learned a neat trick from my friend’s boyfriend: mix a bit of wasabi into the soy sauce for dipping. I also announced to everyone at the table that if someone didn’t like pickled ginger they could pass them over to me!

Group shot--sans birthday girl!

Afterwards we headed to a bar/restaurant that happened to be having “Psychedelic Night” with really awesome color oil projections. I was being a social butterfly that night since I ended up knowing a ton of people at the place.

The leftover chopped pecans + honey sauce from the baklava baking extravaganza was perfect for topping a bowl of oats.

Busy lady = boxed meals!

I prepared a box of Annie’s Shells and White Cheddar. I added some cooked chopped spinach, pine nuts, garlic salt, and black pepper.

Now I’m going to fill out a survey that the hottie boombalottie, Ayla, passed on to me!

Favorite cookie?

Okay… I have a few.. Bountiful Vegan’s lemon snickerdoodle, Samoas, Immaculate Baking Co.’s pumpkin gingerlies, and freshly baked chewy and moist spiced oatmeal cookies

Favorite way to eat oatmeal?

In a jar!

Favorite snack?

Lately I’ve been loving snacking on these apple-banana muffins I made (put some of my hemp protein powder to good use) with maple syrup, apples and bananas + peanut butter

Favorite sandwich combo?

Tricky tricky! I’ll just say mango chutney and sharp cheddar grilled on pumpernickel bread. Oh gosh I also love banana + Nutella sandwiches.

Are you a vegetarian?

Indeed I am

Favorite vegetarian product?

Sunshine burgers!

Favorite yogurt?

Greek and Danonino (one of my favorites since childhood)

Favorite fruit?

I can’t just pick one you know… mango, bananas, dark sweet cherries, papaya, gala apples, and dates

Favorite dried fruit?

Cranberries, pineapple, and bananas

Favorite veggie?

Romaine, carrots, butternut squash

Favorite comfort food meal?

Mom’s secret red lentil recipe

Favorite restaurant?

I don’t believe I have one… I have favorites depending on the cuisine, but my favorite cuisines are Indian, Thai, and Mediterranean

Favorite beverage?

Hmm… I don’t really have one but I really enjoyed a nice refreshing pack of coconut water today!

Favorite way to take your coffee at home?

I don’t usually drink coffee, but I like it black

Favorite cracker?

Animal crackers!

Favorite dessert?

Tiramisu and carrot cake

Favorite condiment?

Bone Suckin’ BBQ Sauce–thick style baby!

Favorite way to eat tortilla chips?

With guacamole, black bean salsa, cheese, and sour cream

Favorite fast food restaurant?

There’s this fast food place in Florida called Pollo Tropical and they make really great yuca fries!

Do you watch food network?

Not really… I rarely watch television

Favorite food network show?

I’ve seen Ina Garten’s show and I liked it!

Favorite salad combo?

Romaine for sure, some great cheese, onions, tomato, pears, and a slightly sweet vinaigrette

Do you like Panera?

Sure, I like their bread bowl soups actually.

Favorite bagel?

Cinnamon and sugar bagel with cream cheese please

Do you like cream cheese or peanut butter on your bagel?

Cream cheese!!!

Favorite bar?

Granola bar = 18 Rabbits, etc. = Boomi Bar

Favorite peanut butter?

Whole Food’s 365 crunchy peanut butter (and it’s cheap!)

Favorite almond butter?

Blue Diamond crunchy

Favorite cereal?

I love Kashi Go-Lean Crunch!

What milk product do you use on your cereal?

It depends… either soy milk or almond milk

Favorite nut?

Pistachios

Favorite candy?

Watermelon Jolly Ranchers and Werther’s Originals

Favorite ethnic food?

Indian!

Favorite tea?

Coconut Almond and Richmond Blend

Favorite indulgence?

German chocolate

Do you like margaritas?

I don’t care for them

Favorite margarita?

I don’t have one

Do you like pickles?

Why yes I do!

Are you into spicy food?

Not really spicy

Do you like banana peppers?

Yes! I love them.

Favorite way to eat a banana?

With chocolate hazelnut butter or peanut butter

Favorite way to eat an apple?

With peanut butter!

Favorite apple variety?

Gala!

Are you good at eating with chopsticks?

Indeed, I don’t have to ask for a fork.

Favorite fruit juice?

I love peach nectar

Favorite alcoholic beverage?

Root beer + Stoli vanilla

Favorite tropical fruit?

I love so many of them! My dad is flying up this weekend and packing a delicious papaya from their own tree!

Hands down favorite food ever?

My dad’s latkes… actually I’m torn between his potato pancakes and this German restaurant’s (with apple sauce and sour cream of course).

This was a lot of fun! I am going to tag some lovely people: Lauren, Sophia, Mitri, and Gillian!

So it’s a new week and I started it out by walking around feeling like a zombie all day. But today was a hectic day in terms of my academics and I’m glad it’s behind me. Stay tuned in my next post to see my piece for my final critique of the semester! Hope all is well my dear friends.

A Cabinet Full of…

You were so good to me!

You better believe this OIAJ was fantastic! Sunland’s caramel peanut butter with apples and oats? Like caramel apples minus the stickyness that gets on your teeth.

Another jar...

This time it was Sunland’s dark chocolate peanut butter. This was so delicious! I sliced a banana and put in a handful of raisins. I thought to myself “hmm… what are somethings that taste good covered in chocolate?” I always forget about raisins!

Just for the sake of having something to feast your eyes on.

More more more!

This time I got to use a jar of Blue Diamond’s crunchy almond butter. I also spiced it with my tea masala. The jar was too small to fit the peach slices and mango chunks so I just took bites of each as I ate the OIAJ. Hopefully I continue to be a lucky girl with the OIAJ. I’d actually like to try sweet potatoes in jar–saw the idea over at this cutie’s blog!

Sandwich on-the-go: avocado mixed with hummus + tomato + onion

Favorite outfit last week!

This is what I was wearing actually when I almost got hit by a car and flew off my bike. My knees and legs got cut up and bruised but atleast no pants were ripped!

Tried a new veggie burger...

I’ve seen many of you rave about Amy’s veggie burgers so I knew I had to give them a try. This is the Texas veggie burger in a ciabatta roll with Bone Suckin’ BBQ sauce + vegan mayo, onions, and lettuce. I think the veggie burger was definitely yummy tasting.

Afterwards I met up with an old friend at the river!

The warm weather has been off and on. We were lucky that day to get lots of warmth and sun.

Ze river

What the heck are those green things?

Well those are pumpkin seed butter balls. I just took 1 cup of pumpkin seed butter, lots of cinnamon and honey, and mixed it all together. Then I left them in the freezer to harden. They have a distinct flavor but I think the honey and cinnamon helped balance the pumpkin seed butter flavor. Plus, I really love the color!

Well, this semester is quickly coming to an end and I’ve had lots of projects/assignments, exams, projects in progress, celebrations, and life in general going on. Even though I’ve been really busy, I’ve loved it! This is going to sound weird but I feel like I’m being eaten by the creativity monster. Hehe don’t worry it’s a good thing. I also know the warm weather makes it easier for me to just go out there. I hope everyone is doing well and also enjoying life.

“Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have.”

Things I’ve Been Loving

Baked sweet plantains with sea salt, cinnamon, and coconut oil

Homemade Pecan Butter

I’ve been eating this with dates, oatmeal, sweet potato, bananas, and even carrots!

A beautiful hyacinth

A beautiful hyacinth

OIAJ with my favorite peanut butter

Tea...

... with crystallized ginger.

Wicked!

Coconut water and dates!

Amy's kitchen goodies!

Note: do not just microwave this! I highly suggest toasting it so it gets a crunchy crust.

Salads!

The warm weather has made me in the mood for delicious salads. I’ve been loving avocado and Drew’s Lemon Goddess dressing in most of them. Dr. Kracker’s crackers have been the perfect sidekicks. The kind folks there contacted me to find out if I’d like to sample and review their crackers. No problem!

Fire Roasted Crisps

These have tart sun-dried tomatoes, sweet potato, and black sesame seeds. They were okay, but I think they could use something salty to give them more flavor; perhaps up the cheddar cheese?

Yum!

The Hummus Maximus crackers were delicious! These are one of my favorites out of the savory flavors. You can even see the seeds! Another interesting thing is that these are made with spelt and chickpea flour.

Homemade smoky chipotle hummus made with avocado oil!

My next post is going to be so exciting! I haven’t told you all, but I am currently hanging out with Liz and her family. We’ve been celebrating her birthday all weekend! So yes, just expect an awesome post hehehe.

Still Soaking Up the Sun

Where has the time gone? It’s seeming to escape me! Anyway let me get down to business. Where was I? Ah yes, recapping my spring break in Florida!

Lots of overnight oats were had, and my friend even tried it (and liked it!)

She also started putting nut butters in her oats! There’s no looking back now hehe.

I made my overnight oats with something new my parents had in their fridge.

At first when I tried the Wild Wood Soyogurt itself I didn’t really like it. But it started to grow on me, and it definitely didn’t taste funky in my overnight oats. So the oats were soaked in this yogurt with raisins, rose water, and cinnamon. Topped in the morning with coconut milk, pistachios, and a sliced banana.

Packed sandwiches, nuts, and some veggies for the beach.

It was so windy that my sandwich became a real “sand”wich! After the beach we headed to the local discount healthfood store.

I got some new things to try...

I also snagged a can of organic pumpkin puree since it’s rare to find one nowadays. I also finally got myself some of my favorite candies… Ginger People’s crystallized ginger m’mmm. I love letting these soak in my tea. I also spotted the Luna protein bar and I got the flavor that appealed to me the most (cookie dough). It was okay, but I don’t think I’m really into the texture of those kinds of bars. I’m more of a whole ingredient bar lady. All of the other goodies are new to me except for the coconut water.

I also stocked my freezer up. Can you tell I'm a college girl?

My favorite sandwich bread for PB&Js!

My friend couldn't decide which chocolate to get so I made it easy for her and exclaimed at this one! SOOO DELICIOUS!

I just had to marvel at the colors!

I had the leftover curried tofu my mom made, a sweet potato with cinnamon and coconut oil, and a salad with a homemade blueberry vinaigrette. Delicious thrown together meal.

More overnight oats + aloe vera on the side

Toppings: coconut milk, Kashi GoLean Crunch, sliced banana, pistachios, and a strawberry compote with honey

Holy yum! I loved the various textures in this breakfast and the fresh flavors. Strawberries and bananas are a fruit combination that never fail.

I made us a nice lunch before we headed out to go shopping!

This turned out to be so flavorful!

I wanted to fix the tofu so it’d be like orange chicken. I found a recipe that sounded good, then added some veggies and cooked some egg noodles. Then we were out!

`

I took her to Paul, a french bakery franchise.

Rainforest Cafe can get a little crazy... especially if I'm there!

Let’s just say I had a lot of fun going around the store with the hand puppets they sell. What can I say? My imagination is still going strong.

Tried on an amazing Alexander Wang dress.

We had a very successful shopping trip, and left the mall elated with the "shopper's high".

Check it out!!!

We got home and had dinner.

Mom made rotkohl (red cabbage) with apples, pan-heated parathas, avocado, and I quickly fried some tofu with a Key Lime Ginger sauce.

And while I was in Florida I enjoyed dates (organic on sale for $1!) with the cashew-macadamia butter I made for my mom.

I have to admit, that date looks inappropriate, but I’ll just leave it at that haha. Anyway, I’m still not done recapping my break down in Florida. So hold on to your seats because there’s more to come. I just hope my next post is sooner than later! Next thing you know it’s going to be April already.

The Great Adventure

Hello hello and greetings from the Sunshine state! I’m going to be backtracking a bit though and showing you some new things I tried during the week before heading down south.

Inspired Breakfast

Cinnamon + cottage cheese + NuNaturals vanilla extract on an English muffin; I’ve seen many bloggers prepare this little combo a la K–I love the ring of that! I topped it with Mymoune’s Crème of Dates with Almonds. Check out the whole almond. On the other half of the English muffin I spread on some good old butter and the berry preserves Holly sent me awhile back. I also made a smoothie which entailed: hemp protein powder + blueberries + banana + almond milk. This was a simple yet so delicious breakfast.

Frozen entree worth mentioning

I tried another Amy’s frozen entree and I was not disappointed. My tummy was feeling funky earlier that week and I figured Indian food would help settle it down a bit. This was the Mattar Paneer entree and I loved that there were plenty of cumin seeds. After I snapped this picture I mixed it all together and added in some coconut oil and voila! No fuss meal.

Coconut Macadamia Ball… m’mm good

I remember on this warm and sunny day (spring is finally moving winter aside) I wanted to snack on something that reminded me of Florida. So I went for Betty Lou’s Coconut Macadamia Butter Ball, and I put it in the freezer so I could have it cold. I just love biting into these. There’s something so satisfying about biting into a yummy ball of nut butter.

Speaking of Betty Lou’s, here are some other goodies I’ve tried. Let me start off with the Krispy Bite. Holy yum!!! I think this may be my favorite little snack of theirs, and I think that’s saying a lot because I like everything hahah. But seriously, there is no eating like a turtle when I munch on these. They disappear faster than it takes me to open the wrapper up.

Close-up

Next up is the Almond Butter Ball. Doesn’t it remind you of the top of a Drumstick sundae cone? I love the denseness and it’s not overly sweet either. They also have a High-protein variation as well, but as far as taste goes… I prefer this one.

Tapping into my inner Renaissance woman.

I was actually able to go out with just this on! Hooray for warmer weather.

I always forget about these shoes!
Brought OIAJ to class the other day.

I am racking up the OIAJ, aren’t I? This was the last of my MaraNatha cashew butter and I knew how I wanted to bid it farewell–with a tropical flair. I cooked the oats with a tea masala (ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, nutmeg, and mace), banana, and almond milk. Then I threw in some mango bits. A little trick I learned is to pour a bit of hot water in the jar before you mix in the oats to soften the nut butter a bit. Then I stir it all together little by little with my special spoon (the one with the long handle). I definitely savored it because these nut butters cost an arm and a leg!!!

Road trip time!!!

This was my first time driving to Florida without my parents and it was so exciting!

Matilda can make herself comfortable anywhere.
I packed a sandwich–fontina + rosemary + sun-dried tomatoes

Speaking of sandwiches, I completely forgot that the grilled cheese sandwich included one of my latest finds–white truffle oil. So good! Anyway, this sandwich was yummy, and I was able to heat it up in the microwave at a gas station. We snack on these awesome pita chips, Sabra hummus, Pirate’s Booty, granola bars, sunflower seeds–hippie food! But whatever, we eat what we like. We drove through a torrential downpour that lasted most of the second half of the trip. Oh and there was an undercover cop that just pulled in to the highway from the side of the road and cut me off. If I didn’t move over I would’ve collided into it! But we finally made it to my parent’s place!

We finally got to my parent’s place and my mom prepared dinner.
Acorn squash, parsley, and cilantro soup
German Pan-fried potatoes + Stir-fry
Fresh fruit + Greek yogurt + cinnamon

My mom has been cooking for us a lot lately, but I’ve been helping her out too. I love cooking, but it’s nice to have someone make things for you for a change though, you know? Especially if it’s your mother’s cooking.

The weather down here has been wonderful, but the wind is not our friend. Every time we’ve gone to the beach, we’ve ended up being brutally attacked the sand. But we will return to Virginia as bronze goddesses, no doubt!

The Savory and the Sweet

Thank you all for your two cents on my last post. So many of your inputs were so helpful and encouraging. Really, I think my confidence levels have gone up a lot since I started this blog. I just get a really awesome sense of community and genuine care in the blog-o-sphere. There are a lot of times where I imagine a giant meet-up would ensue and the world wouldn’t even know what hit it. Wabam! Anyway, I have to catch you all up on something that’s totally slipped my mind–chocolate! How did chocolate slip my mind? Maybe because it’s in my belly.

Chai Tea Milk Chocolate

Oh yes, this indeed satisfied my sweet tooth. You could taste the various spices in this creamy chocolate bar. I actually let this melt in my mouth and just let the flavors unravel.

The much anticipated Bread & Chocolate dark chocolate!

I was so eager to try this one out since it sounded so interesting and very different from the other flavors. However, I think I built my expectations up a little too high. This wasn’t bad tasting, just sort of a letdown. It was a bit too acidic for my taste but I did appreciate the texture of the bread in the chocolate. Out of all the Theo 3400 Phinney flavors I tried the Hazelnut Crunch milk chocolate was by far my favorite. The saltiness from the toffee, crunchiness from the nuts, and the sweetness from everything else all embedded in a delicious milky chocolate, just spells out amazing!

Now the last of the Newman's Own chocolates!

I finally can say that I have tried everything that the more than generous folks over at Newman’s Own sent me awhile ago. Yes indeed. Let’s start out with the Espresso dark chocolate. Honestly, this bar was not for me. It didn’t really melt in my mouth and I was expecting there to be more of an espresso taste. The flavor did hit me… eventually, it was more like the aftertaste. Now on to the Mocha milk chocolate… that one was so yummy! It really did taste like a mocha but in chocolate bar form, which means it melts in your mouth! Yum! I think my favorite ones from the chocolates are the Mocha milk chocolate and the Orange dark chocolate.

The other day I used up the last of the bag of Udi's Au Naturel granola.

I had it with yogurt, diced apple, and cinnamon sprinkled on top. On the side I had one of my favorite combos: apple + peanut butter!

A Golden Smacker

This Betty Lou’s snack is appropriately named–the taste was golden! What is a Golden Smacker exactly? It’s a patty with peanut butter covered in dark chocolate. Now where can you go wrong with that? I absolutely loved the texture of the filling and I even spotted some raisins as well. This was so delicious and satisfying to munch on. I really savored this because it was just too good to just gobble up–even though that would be easy too! More please! Betty Lou’s also has a milk chocolate flavor if that’s more your taste.

I love lentils!

I cooked these lentils using my mom’s secret recipe and adding some twists of my own–bay leaves, coconut oil, sauteed onions and garlic. However, the rest will remain a secret mwahaha! Anyway, I cooked some rice with cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods to go along with the lentils. This hit the spot! Out of all the lentils, red is my favorite by far. And  I had plenty of leftovers; perfect for a busy week. To go along with the rice and lentil combo, I steamed a buttload of kale and had some dates + ginger + cashew butter.

I bought this jar of sweet mango pickle on sale for 99 cents awhile ago, but have yet to find something to serve it with.

With the lentils? Nay. Any ideas?

Dinner on-the-go I tried something else from Amy's kitchen!

I think it’s safe to say that whoever was around me in this class was jealous because it smelled really good, and it tasted even better! Not to mention, burritos are so convenient and not messy… unless you order a mondo one at Chipotle! Luckily, in this class I do not get in trouble for eating. Sidenote: later on in this post you’ll see my solution to packing something for the class I got in trouble in.

After running some errands with my dad (yay he's in town), I came home hungry but I didn't know what to have.

Then it occured to me that there is no wrong time to have a sweet potato. Plus, I just replenished my supply and this was the last one in the old bag. I just microwaved it and topped it with coconut butter, cinnamon, and I smeared a bit of Sunland’s banana peanut butter to be a taste-tester. Do any of you do this? Some times I’ll have something with half of it topped with one preserve and the other half with another flavor–this usually happens when I can’t decide or I’m just feeling curious. Oh, and for the record, the banana peanut butter with the sweet potato was awesome!

Inspired by chocolate-covered strawberries!

I know one chica that would love the sound of this! I cooked my oats in the rest of my almond milk and coconut oil. Then I topped this creamy bowl of goodness with April’s protein brownie batter recipe and threw in some beautiful strawberries. This all mixed together was so good. The other night I also tried a different variation of the protein batter recipe by using vanilla protein powder + cashew butter. I don’t think you can make a bad decision when it comes to this recipe. It’s so simple yet so delicious!

Leftovers + Whole Foods hot bar goodies!

When I was running errands with my dad the night before I spotted a dish that I’ve only seen and tried once at Whole Foods. I loved it when I tried it and I always checked to see if they had it. But that night, they finally did! It’s a spicy eggplant and tomato dish + I wanted to try the tofu korma. My dad brought up a lot of avocados from Florida = an avocado a day for me yay! I love avocados but they’re so expensive up here that I don’t buy them often unless I see them on sale. However, in Florida they are incredibly cheap–we’re talking 30 cents each at some places!

The tofu korma was the bomb diggity! It had me craving basmati rice and naan + some other delicious Indian food!

Savory snack time!

I topped a Seedlander Dr. Kracker cracker with cottage cheese, kale, avocado, s & p. This was simple, fresh, and I recommend it! I picked up some cottage cheese at the store the other day, and I’m glad I did. I’ve forgotten how practical and tasty it can be. By the way, if you haven’t tried Dr. Kracker’s crackers then you are missing out! These are so flavorful even on their own. They are a bit pricey, but I found them on sale at TJ Maxx so I figured “what the hey!”

Now presenting the solution to my no-eating-in-class problemo!

Obviously, I did not follow that rule. It did, however, inspire some sneakiness and turned into “Operation This Isn’t a Meal It’s a ‘Snack'”. I also forgot to mention that while running errands with my dad, Whole Foods had a 33.5 oz tub of Greek yogurt that was promptly put in my basket! So yes, as of late I have been relishing in that tub of Greek goodness. I also bought a set of tupperware with a twist on lid to ensure no spills! When it’s on, this girl knows just what to do! So I filled the container with Greek yogurt, diced apple, and cinnamon. Then I brought this amazing bar to crumble into, what would evolve into a delicious yog-mess. I wish I could’ve snapped a picture of this bar! You could see the ingredients, and I even spied some dried apples! I was actually worried upon opening the wrapper that the aroma would waft on over to my professor and that he would catch me red-handed. Mouth full I would say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Anyway, back to the bar. This is a very different product from all the Betty Lou’s reviews I’ve done so far. I think the packaging itself goes along with the fun and light-hearted attitude the company seems to have. And the flavor? It has everything a chewy granola bar should have! Oats, maple, cinnamon, fruits, nuts, and seeds! Now I know why it’s called a Harmony Bar! FYI: “Operation This Isn’t a Meal It’s a ‘Snack'” was a success!

Okay, so I fear this post has a lot of words and pictures and I don’t want to overwhelm anybody. Although I do have so much more to share! But no worries, there’s always a next post. Also, I have really taken your advice on making a to-do list to heart. It has made managing my time so much easier and tasks just seem less daunting. It also helps that I’m checking some things off steadily. Many weights being lifted off my shoulders = easier to breathe. That reminds me! We are over that mid-week hill and now we’re just rolling down to Friday! Actually before I end this post I’m going to sneak in one more picture because I can’t contain my excitement.

From the fashion show rehearsal!

I brought my camera this time and I still almost forgot to take a picture. I cannot express how excited I am for this! It’s on Saturday–so close!!! We got our choreography down, did a lot of run throughs, scheduled our hair and makeup appointments, and overall just had fun.

p.s. my next post I’ll be sharing my re-worked sculpture!

p.s.s. my dear friend, Katie Anne, suggested I make a cheese post and I think that’s a really great idea! So I’ll be working on that. Does anyone else have any themed post ideas they’d like to see me write?