Open Toasted Sesame

Highlights from the week…


Lemon shortbread Greek yogurt with a Jaffa mandarin and a coconut seltzer.


Coconut Chobani with Heritage Flakes and a sumo mandarin and a lemon seltzer.


Cookie butter cotton candy.


Sandwich night.  Mock beef shaved tofu sauteed with red bell pepper and bbq sauce / served on a brioche bun / with mayo and provolone.  Plus broccoli.


Barley bowls.  Barley / roasted zucchini / crumbled seaweed snacks / canned mackerel and smoked sardines mashed together with some mayonnaise / Sriracha and gojuchang on top.


A knock-your-socks-off good dinner date at Gristmill.


The Ali Baba cocktail = gin, lemon, cream, egg white, and toasted sesame.


I went with the pre-fix option because I wanted too many things to choose!


Local greens salad with carrot, watermelon radish, and toasted sesame vinaigrette.  This was delicious af and while we were eating it the owner came by and excitedly told us about sourcing his greens, so that was fun.


Chicken liver mousse with bread crackers, concord grape jam, and dulce de leche.


Best plain cheese pizza I’ve ever eaten.  <– Gristmill is famous for their wood-fired oven.


Plus we had an affogato and that thing lurking in the back is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten with caramelized white chocolate ganache and sourdough pretzel crumbs.


I work the weekend so I’m off today, woo hoo!

It’s All Greek To Me!

My four-day workweek helped ease me back into real life after vacation.  I was also assisted by copious amounts of sugar, coffee, and alcohol.  And thanks to the holiday, next week is short too, wahoo!

daytime eats

Cereal and milk coffee.


Coffee, Fiber One bar, Pink Lady apple.


Latte and a tangelo.


We got to sample some of the new desserts that are going to be sent up to patients on their birthdays.


And our cafeteria’s brownies are always to die for.


I don’t even really like brownies but these are terrifically fudgy.

Loaded veggie pizza.


Cafeteria-assembled Mediterranean salad.  Romaine and ranch topped with marinated cucumbers, taboule, chickpeas, and cheese; plus a falafel, pita chips, hummus, and a pickle.


Oatmeal with chocolate hazelnut butter and a side of fresh melon.


This was my first time trying steel cut oats and I really enjoyed them.

nighttime eats

Leftover pineapple turkey chili pulled down from the freezer.


Topped with pickled jalapeños and apricot stilton.  With buttered toast and a side of baby carrots and hummus.


I was majorly thanking my past self for saving some chili for a future quickie dinner.

Scrambled eggs made for another easy night.


Filled with broccoli, cauliflower, shredded chicken breast, and three cheese blend.

Mediterranean salad at home.  My cafeteria version was good but this was the better of the two; the crispy chickpeas took it to the next level.



Baby romaine with TJ’s feta dressing / roasted zucchini / hard-boiled egg / crispy chickpeas / taboule / and feta cheese.

TJ’s chile relleno with cheesy eggs and buttered toast.


This was an arbitrary assortment of foods but it worked.

Adam brought me home a giant salted caramel macaron from our favorite spot in Grand Central Station.  He was on an “away” rotation at NYU that ended yesterday so this was the last of the midweek Manhattan treats.


I paired a cocktail grapefruit with a sticky toffee beer that was only so-so.


And chocolates (nonpareils and dipped gummy bears) with a Dino S’mores Imperial Stout.


Never mind the fact that the label is a mouse in a dinosaur costume making a s’more (<– !!!!!), this stout is brewed with graham flour, fluff, vanilla, and cocoa nibs, and it tastes like a freaking toasted marshmallow.  ♥♥♥♥

P.S. Have you seen the Tatum on Tatum episode of Lip Sync Battle?  I laughed so hard I’m pretty sure I scared the neighbors!

Apple Picking; Weekend Wrap-Up

This weekend I got to cross something major off of my fall bucket list – apple picking!


I drove upstate to Lawrence Farms with some girlfriends and we came home with pounds and pounds of tasty apples.


I also snagged Adam and I two pumpkins for carving next weekend.


Check out my gorgeous haul (this is only a portion of it, the rest went into the fridge) –


So far, my favorite variety is the Candy Crisp.


Yum!  We had a ton of fun and I definitely want to repeat this activity next fall.

I don’t have much to share for this post, just three things.  I’m a bit under the weather and I spent almost all of Sunday tucked in bed.

Breakfast on the go.


A smoothie  – water and meat from a Thai young coconut with canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, frozen banana, and maple syrup – and a Clif Maple Nut bar that I shared with the husband.  The bar was much better than the smoothie, which did not emulsify at all.

Getting in my green before a dinner of orange hues.


Spinach salad with sweet and spicy pecans, dried blueberries, and buttermilk blue cheese, dressed with honey, evoo, and lavender salt.


The oil came home from Italy with a friend and it was fantastic.


Our main course was tuna casserole that I made and froze awhile back, so I don’t totally remember what was in it.  Definitely tuna, barley, spinach, green onions, peas, water chestnuts, roasted garlic and mushroom condensed soup, cheese, and crushed Cheez-Its on top.


Plus carnival squash that we roasted with salt, smoked brown sugar, liquid smoke, and maple syrup.


Dinner was delicious.  Sweet and smoky squash with cheesy casserole?  You can’t really go wrong!

Best bite of the week goes to dessert from Ample Hills.


I got a kids’ cup of pistachio and honey and the flavors went together perfectly.

Hopefully I am over the hump with my sickness now.  The temperatures are finally dropping here and I really don’t want a cold to go with the cold!


Weekly Wrap-Up; In August

First of all, I need to announce the winners for my Müller Yogurt giveaway: lucky numbers 2, 3, and 6.  Grace, rachelesimms, and Jenny, shoot me an e-mail with your mailing addresses so I can get your coupons out!

This wrap-up spans more than one week and while this obviously wasn’t everything that I consumed, I ate a lot of really good stuff so the volume of pictures was a little overwhelming.  I didn’t try to break this post up into breakfast/lunch/dinner, instead I’ll keep things loosely chronological.

-1- I made a cheese quesadilla on a Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Flour Tortilla with Rolled Oats and Flax Seeds with sliced apple on the side.


There were lots of Trader Joe’s (TJ’s) goodies eaten recently and we were very impressed with all but one of them.  The texture of the tortilla definitely helped make my plain cheese quesadilla a little more interesting.

-2- Alvita Tea sent me some of their tea.

tea from alvita

Alvita makes single-herb teas that are third-party certified organic, gluten-free and kosher.  When I returned the e-mail offer for free samples, I requested teas that would be good iced during this hot summer, so they sent me Ginger-Peppermint, Passionflower, and Raspberry.

alvita tea

I loved the flavors of Passionflower and Raspberry, but Ginger-Peppermint was too much spicy ginger for me.  Adam loves that flavor though, so if you are a ginger fan I would recommend it.  I did try the flavors hot (aka by following the brewing instructions) but the pictures were boring so instead I’ll show you two ways I served the tea cold.

First, Ginger-Peppermint iced tea.

iced tea

Whenever I make iced tea I toss 2 tea bags per ~6 oz cold water in a glass and let it sit until the color looks right to me.  This oh-so-scientific method has never failed me!

Next, Passionflower “Thai” iced tea.

homemade thai-style iced tea

For this tasty treat, I followed the brewing instructions but tripled up on tea bags.  Then I chilled my tea concentrate and served it with a couple of tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk.  Quite delicious.

-3- I made the best flipping sandwich I’ve ever had.


I know that’s a big claim, but it’s so true.  I mashed a can of TJ’s Smoke Trout with Miracle Whip, spread my trout salad between two pieces of whole-wheat bread with three slices of sliced Velveeta, and cooked it in a skillet with a little butter.

smoked trout grilled cheese

Served with baby carrots and sliced pepper.

lunch veggies

My sandwich was so smokey and gooey!  I want another can of that trout asap.  This was actually the first sandwich with Velveeta I’ve ever had (I don’t know that either of my parents have ever tasted processed cheese food, we never had it in the house growing up).  The cheese was leftover from another recipe and while I would not buy it again, it did make this sandwich mighty good.

-4- The dog and I were kicked out of the apartment one afternoon while our tub was being redone.


We went to Shake Shack for their outdoor seating and I got a chocolate-vanilla twist with chocolate toffee and cheesecake blondie stirred in.

shake shack

I know that looks amazing, but in spite of the promising flavors the taste just wasn’t good.  I threw out 2/3 of it; after it melted all over me first, of course.  I think I am officially done giving that Shake Shack location more chances.  But bad food doesn’t really matter when your lunch date is this cute –

webster car

Those eyes!

-5- I made two smoothies, one bad and one good.  The bad was frozen mixed berries with frozen spinach and orange-mango juice.

berry smoothie

Adam loved his glass, but I drank mine purely for the nutrients.

The good was this strawberry almond smoothie.

strawberry almond smoothie

Frozen strawberries with Barney Butter Crunchy Almond Butter, and unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

-6- Another food served in two rounds – salad.  Thankfully both of these iterations were amazing.  Salad one,

salad with homemade croutons

was lettuce, homemade croutons (leftover torn french bread tossed with evoo, salt, and pepper and baked at 375*), shredded carrots, chopped green pepper, TJ’s Greek Style Feta Dressing, and Hemp Hearts.

homemade croutons

The Hemp Hearts made the salad with their unique flavor and texture.  I got this sample package at the co-op and if I can’t find this product at Whole Foods I might just go back to Buffalo to buy more!

hemp hearts

Salad two,


was lettuce, shredded carrots, smoked gouda, feta dressing, and toasted almond slivers.

salad with smoked gouda

The ratio of fatty toppings to healthy greens in this salad was way off, but it tasted soooooo good.

-7- We ate tofu nuggets and roasted brussels sprouts for dinner.

tofu and brussels

I got really sick of roasted brussels sprouts a few years ago and I think I finally have my taste for them back.

roasted brussels sprouts

The nuggets were extra-firm tofu that I’d sliced and frozen (freezing tofu gives it a great spongy texture when it’s cooked) then coated in corn starch and cooked in canola oil.

tofu nuggets

My attempt at a sweet and sour style sauce wasn’t very good, but the “nuggets” of tofu were pretty exciting.

-8- I made a winner of a dinner with a meal that was quick, easy, tasty, and healthy.

barley bowl

Bowls of barley topped with TJ’s Smoked Herring (that we mashed with a little Miracle Whip), TJ’s Sweet Sesame Seaweed, a drizzle of Sriracha, and a soft-boiled egg.

seaweed, egg, herring and barley

This was the best dinner of this post!  We stirred our bowls so everything got coated in egg yolk and the flavor was fantastic.

-9- I discovered my new favorite combination of cereals: half a serving of Cascadian Farm Dark Chocolate Almond Granola with a serving of Kashi 7 Whole Grain Honey Puffs.


The Kashi cereal almost reminded me of Smax.  That bowl was topped with skim milk and chopped nectarines.

-10- I finally did a work out.

yoga mat

Barre3 is promoting their 7-Day Body Blast program and they offered me a complimentary month of online workouts.

Barre3 is a unique fitness system combining the arts of Pilates, yoga and ballet barre work.  I took a class the last time I was in the city and loved it.  The monthly subscription is only $15 and it gives you access to a myriad of online workouts.  You can select 10, 20, 30, 40, and 60 minute classes, choosing to focus on a specific set of muscles or on working your whole body.  The videos are great and the oral instructions are clear enough that once you’ve done a workout once or twice it is easy to follow along without having to watch the movements on a screen.

I’ve done the Ballet Fit (40 minutes) class twice.  It is a total body workout with a good mix of arms, legs, and core work.  There are lots of pulses so it ends up being pretty good cardio too.  I intended to branch out so I had more to review, but I loved the Ballet Fit class so much the first time that I wanted to do it again.  Plus, I’m trying to get better so I don’t have to keep pausing the video every five minutes to die.


All you need for the online workouts is a mat (I ended up tossing my shoes), some light weights, a pillow*, and a chair/couch/counter to serve as a bar.  *They recommend a core ball but I found a folded pillow worked just fine in a pinch.

-11- I finally found a good combo for homemade egg cream.

homemade egg cream

Chocolate Nesquick and plain seltzer worked like a charm.

chocolate milk and seltzer

Even Adam, who normally hates my egg cream attempts, thought this was good.

-12- A friend and I had a great night in Williamsburg.  We explored on foot, then settled on Mizu for dinner.  I got a Hijiki salad to start.

seaweed salad

Black seaweed with carrot and tofu.

seaweed salad at mizu

I didn’t like my salad – which had a strange, woody aftertaste – but my Futu Maki was delicious.


Crab stick, cucumber, avocado, egg, and pickles.

sushi at mizu

The sweetness of the tamago made the wasabi extra delicious.  And fun gum with the bill is always good.

bill at mizu

Afterwards we were very lucky to spot a sign for snow cones at Handsome Dan’s.

snow cone

I got an earl grey snow cone with a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk.

earl grey with sweetened condensed milk

Are you freaking kidding me?!

We walked over to the water on our way home and the view of the skyline was even more exciting than our snow cones.




I ♥ New York.

-13- I made another really good sandwich.

turkey sandwich

A Whole-Wheat Sandwich Thin topped with smoked turkey, smoked gouda (from TJ’s), and Crofter’s Strawberry Spread.

jam, smoked gouda, and turkey

The smokey-sweet thing will always be my favorite.

-14 – We pulled out our popsicle molds.


These dulce de leche lemon popsicles are insane.

lemon cream popsicle

I had a little extra “batter” that I poured in my iced tea and it knocked my socks off.

-15- I made tropical fruit salad.

tropical fruit salad

2 bananas, 2 minneolas, 2 kiwis, and a handful of TJ’s Roasted Coconut Chips.

kiwi, minneola, banana, coconut

Leaving berries out of this salad made the leftovers feel a lot fresher than usual.

-16- We ate a dinner dipped in ketchup.


Kale chips,

kale chips

with TJ’s Mahi Mahi Burgers.

mahi patties

I ended up only eating one of my burgers, so I ate the leftover for lunch the next day with the rest of the fruit salad.


The Mahi mahi was simple but good with a little Miracle Whip on a Sandwich Thin.

mahi sandwich

This was the one product that I don’t think we’ll buy again; the patties were greasier than I’d like even though the nutritional stats were good.  It was nice to feel fancy with lots of fish this week.

That’s all she wrote!

Wow.  I need to blog more often; what a terrifyingly long post.