The Rest Of The Weekend

Here is all the stuff that didn’t tie into yesterday’s book review…

Coffee break(fast) on Friday.

DSC06467One of the doctors brought us all in doughnuts but I stuck with my latte and coffee chia bar (even though this flavor ended up being gross).  Later I was laughing with Adam about how much much harder it is to pass things up now that I’ve gotten kind of fat.  Before it felt like “this is a time I’m not eating something yummy, but that’s ok because I look and feel my best because I occasionally don’t eat things that are yummy.”  Before I started my job I went a little crazy with the sitting on the couch and eating thing and now I’m trying to get back to my old, healthy self.  But now it’s like “I’m passing up on this doughnut but I still don’t look like I pass on doughnuts, I look like I rolled around in a pile of doughnuts like Scrooge McDuck and then just put my clothing on over the doughnuts that stuck!

<— anyone else get what I’m saying there?

Another Friday item, lunch.

DSC06456The last of the big grapes.

DSC06460And a salad of romaine with groats, edamame, peanuts, and peanut vinaigrette.

DSC06458It was so great having the pre-cooked edamame at the ready.  Thanks, Trader Joe’s.  And speaking of TJ’s…

We tried several tasty cheeses this weekend.

DSC06452DSC06473In grilled cheese!  On gingerbread swirl bread.

DSC06513We made one sandwich of each and then split them in half.  Chocolate cheddar cheese with Sriracha mayo and English cheddar with caramelized onions with dijon.

DSC06516So. Freaking. Good.  I don’t even plan on being a person who doesn’t cozy up with the husband in front of Gray’s with a plate of grilled cheese.  I just need to stop being the person who puts cheese on everrrrrrrrrything.

We cashed in a BOGO coupon at Starbucks and got turkey bacon, egg white, and cheddar sandwiches for breakfast before running errands.

DSC06469DSC06471This sandwich is one of the husband’s very favorite things but I ended up sharing the last 1/3 of mine with him.  I feel like there must be fake sugar in the English muffins; they have a strangely sweet aftertaste that throws off the whole sandwich.

I was supposed to do a review with Limoneira recently but things fell through at the last minute.  They felt bad and sweetly sent me a big box of lemons.

DSC06352Too exciting!  I had so much fun getting to experiment with the meyer lemons.  We made another batch of Dulce de Leche Lemon Popsicles, and did something really fun with the leftover “batter.”

DSC06475DSC06479Lemon egg creams!  Just popsicle mix (lemon juice, scm, and skim milk) with pink grapefruit seltzer.

We also made some lemon bars to bring to a holiday party we attended Saturday night.

DSC06505My mom always made these bars for me growing up but this was the first time Adam ever tried them and he adored them.  Not super Christmasy but they did have powdered sugar snow.

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the cookbook giveaways!

Around The Web

Things to Make You Think –

Due a lack of standard practice for labeling, some “Greek Yogurts” are thickened with additives instead of via the traditional straining process

A RD debunks some common myths about type II diabetes

The recent cuts to SNAP have put increased strain on local food banks

Schools in Utah try new methods of getting students to actually eat healthier cafeteria lunches

Things to Make You Giggle –

three writers walk into a bar...source

evidence based protestsource

are you human shapedsource

the plot thickenssource

I cannot even tell you, all four of my “giggles” made me laugh my head off!

Lobster, And Marrow, And Boba, Oh My!

The past three days were the best of 2013, and I have so much to say.  We ended every day so exhausted/satisfied/full and blogging just felt like an impossible feat.  But how can I not blog two of my favorite meals in Buffalo?  I may not get to say as much as I’d like, but at least this post will help put my memories all in one place.  If I had to state the theme of this post succinctly, it would be – I really, deeply, emphatically love good food.

This weekend we were lucky enough to have a visit from some of my Maryland family, my aunt and one cousin.  They are some of the best people I know and I loved getting to share and explore Buffalo with them.

On the way to the airport, I drank a Zico Chocolate Coconut Water,


and split a Cascadian Farm Crunchy Oats & Honey Granola Bar with the husband.


When we got home I put out a little meze spread for lunch.


Cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber with pink salt, baby carrots, Wegman’s roasted garlic hummus, and tamari almonds.

My plate, x2:


I also ate the bread ends off of a loaf I sliced up to make Adam a sandwich.


I need to do raw veggie spreads more often; this was a very satisfying lunch.

We took a wander down Elmwood to show the fam where I work and play, and stopped at Ashker’s for wonderfully velvety espresso.


With skim milk and sugar.

Then we were off to the falls!







We lucked out with the perfect weather – cold enough to scare away the crowds but warm enough that you could really take your time to appreciate Mother Nature.

Speaking of Mothers, that’s where we had dinner!



Mother’s restaurant is 10 steps from our old apartment but we never made it a priority because we thought it was steak house.  The menu was mostly meat, but that didn’t keep me from having an absolutely fantastic meal.

Bread with salted butter.


Glass of wine, a Chablis that I enjoyed far more than I was expecting to.




My picture quality went downhill at this point but the quality of food kept shooting up.

For an appetizer we all split the gnocchi.


Potato gnocchi with portobello, lump crab, peas, and a white truffle sauce.

My portion, x2.


All of those components are great on their own but together they became something amazing.  Best gnocchi I’ve ever had; it was pillowy beyond my wildest dreams.

For my entrée: “sautéed red snapper fillet with gulf shrimp, mushrooms, artichokes, scallions, lemon butter sauce, and microgreen salad.


It also came with asparagus and perfectly roasted potatoes.


The dish was wonderful and the portion was gigantic (Adam actually ate the other half of my fish for dinner tonight!).  Certainly a meal worth going back for.

But the best bites I took were actually from the husband’s dish.


The black (squid ink) pasta I could live without, but the scallops – like the gnocchi – were the best I’ve ever had.  They were cooked to perfection, with a nice crust and creamy middle.  Adam must love me a whole lot to have given me as many bites as he did!

– . – . – I need to stop and do some foreshadowing here: the meal at Mother’s was not even the best meal of their visit!

Monday morning my aunt and I walked Webster to The Spot for some coffees.  The baristas gave me a gorgeous drink and were super sweet about the dog in my arms.


Tall skim latte, to go.

Back at home, I had a big bowl of Cascadian Farms Berry Cobbler Granola with fresh blackberries and homemade vanilla cashew milk.


While it clearly couldn’t compete with our dinners, this meal was pretty flipping good.  I’m thinking that the cashew milk may be worth the effort after all.

The weather had shifted back to winter by that point so we spent our afternoon walking around the mall.  My aunt bought me a couple of new work pieces at Old Navy – – can you believe I start school next week?!

You have to do self-serve froyo when you’re at the mall.  I did a small amount of plain tart and coconut yogurt, a medium amount of fresh fruit, and tons of popping boba.


Is it sick that both bubble tea and self-serve froyo make an appearance on my “must have” list for next year’s move?

For dinner, we met the husband at Seabar.



I could talk about how fun the decor is, but when the food is this awesome, who really cares?

I got a spicy bloody mary to drink.


I know keep saying this, but seriously – best blood mary I’ve ever had!


It came loaded with Tabasco, Franks, and Sriracha.

My impetus for dragging everyone to Seabar was simple – “Bourdain’s Last Meal.”


Marrow, foie gras torchon, (and pork belly which I requested come on a separate plate), and toasted bread for spreading.

***This post is far too long already for me to go into my food philosophy.  In short – yes, I ate marrow and yes, I still won’t eat read meatIf you would like me to post more about it just ask and I gladly will. 




Trying marrow has been on my life list for years and it was like nothing I’ve ever tasted before.  I totally concur with its description as “the world’s best butter.”  We all shared the appetizer but I will totally cop to eating a lion’s share of the marrow.  Also, I spread marrow between two toasts and ate it like a small, ridiculously decadent sandwich.


And then I closed my eyes and swooned.

Actually, I spent most of the meal with my eyes closed tight, straining to help my taste buds make the most of every flavor.  I hate to knock my favorite place in Brooklyn off of the top, but this meal was the best I’ve ever eaten.

My family raved about their sushi – inventive combos composed of incredibly fresh fish – but my entrée was by far the best plate at the table.


“Lobster  Ramen – Handmade Noodles, Lobster Broth Poached Egg, Shiitakes, Pickled Vegetable”



None of us could get over the texture of the lobster and the noodles were out of this world.  Also, the pickled vegetables were nothing to frown at, but they were hard to focus on with poached lobster sitting at the table.  When I took my first bite of homemade noodle with egg yolk broken on top I was pretty sure I would die of happiness.


And I haven’t even mentioned the broth yet.  I shared many bites and was more than generous with my lobster claws, all while threatening everyone not to spill a drop.  Then when all that was left was broth, I sucked it up with my straw!  I regret nothing.

I ate a dark chocolate peanut butter santa when we got home.


And I collapsed into bed, basically drunk on marrow.

This morning we pulled ourselves out of our food comas and drove over to East Aurora.  I know I don’t actually live in EA, but I always want to bring visitors to Taste.



I had the Santa’s Sleigh with skim milk.


A peppermint tea latte with white chocolate and a hint of coconut.  It was delicious!

We were just admiring the cool industrial vibe when… I dropped my camera on the concrete floor.  Please note – I stayed amazing calm, but if my memory card had broken too and I’d lost the pictures for this post I definitely would have cried.

I’m going to end my blogging here, because I just can’t see tacking cell phone photos on the end of this lengthy post.

Broken cameras be damned, we had a nice day.  I managed to get buffalo wings into my aunt and cousin before they had to head to the airport.  I had a good day of work.  Adam and I shared a Dole Whip at the mall.  And many (many) hours later, I have a new camera.  So tomorrow, we can start all over again.

What/where was your best meal?  Have you ever tasted something so good you had to shut your eyes?

Cheesy Eggplant Bake With Salad

Nutrition (education, access, etc.) for underserved populations is topic that is important to me.  It’s the reason I quit my job as a teacher and the reason I’ll someday go back to teaching again, though my new lessons will be about healthy eating instead of English.  So, when Romano’s Macaroni Grill contacted me to see if I would write a post about their current partnership with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry, I jumped at the opportunity.

Disclaimer – I am not being personally compensated for this post, though they will make a donation as thanks for my participation.  This is just a subject to which I am glad to bring awareness.

Here’s how it works – Macaroni Grill is enlisting the food blogger community to help end childhood hunger with a single post. By simply tagging #macgrillgive to a recipe, message or photo of their favorite Italian meal on their blog, Macaroni Grill will donate $50 to connect a child to up to 500 meals.  Readers can go into the restaurant and donate $2, and get $5 off their next meal; OR – share an artist inspired image from our Mac Grill Give Facebook Gallery and we’ll help connect a kid with 1 meal.

Here are some facts from No Kid Hungry –

  • 48.8 million Americans—including 16.2 million children— live in households that lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis. As a result, they struggle with hunger at some time during the year.
  • Food insecurity—the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe food— exists in 17.2 million households in America, 3.9 million of them with children.
  • Rates of food insecurity are substantially higher than the national average among households with incomes near or below the federal poverty line, among households with children headed by single parents (35.1% of female-headed households with children are food-insecure) and among Black and Hispanic households.
  • Food insecurity is most common in large cities but still exists in rural areas, suburbs and other outlying areas around large cities.  25 % of households with children living in large cities are food-insecure.

My favorite (homemade) Italian meal is my Cheesy Eggplant Bake

It is so cheesy, hearty, and filling; you would never guess that each serving has less than 200 calories.  Being cooked in the marinara sauce makes the eggplant extra creamy and delicious.

What goes better with rich, cheesy food than a nice green salad?

On the side, we had romaine topped with ground flax, buckwheat groats, and lite honey mustard dressing.

It was an easy, tasty, wholesome meal.

Cheesy Eggplant Bake, serves 4

  • 1 to 1.5 pounds thinly sliced eggplant (approx. .25 inch thick)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 6 slices 2% provolone
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Layer eggplant and tomato sauce into an 8×8 inch casserole dish; placing tomato sauce as the bottom and top layer.  You’ll most likely end up with three even layers of eggplant if your eggplant was sliced thinly enough.
  3. Bake 40 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven, top evenly with cheese, and return to oven for 10 additional minutes, until cheese is melted and beginning to brown.

Zombies Don’t Feel So Fresh

Hello, hello!  No post yesterday due technical difficulties.  P.S. “technical difficulties” is a fancy way of saying “I’m an idiot and when I plugged in my camera I somehow deleted all of my pictures.”

That wasn’t even the stupidest thing I did all afternoon.  We were eating M&M’s on the couch and I didn’t realize that I had spilled a handful until I saw the dog licking them.  I picked them up immediately (because chocolate and dogs don’t mix) but we have no idea what I did with them next.  We finally determined that I must have eaten them.  That’s right, I basically took food out of the dog’s mouth and ate it.  Yum.

Yesterday was a disaster any way.  We did not run.  We did eat nachos.  Like, ridiculous nachos; they were almost too cheesy.  Oh, and I fell asleep on the couch at 5pm again.  I don’t know what my deal is lately but I’m so tired I feel like a zombie!  I seem to be a little bit allergic to the dog but overall this has been my best summer ever as far as allergies go.  And while summer school is easy I don’t feel like I’m not doing enough and I’m certainly not doing too much.  I don’t know why I feel so tired all of the time.

For breakfast a Roasted Nut Roll Larabar Uber was packed.

The last of my Uber line samples, this flavor is my 2nd favorite after Bananas Foster.  The mix of nuts included almonds, pecans, peanuts and macadamia nuts.  It tasted almost like one of those pecan roll candies with the white stuff in the center!

I should mention that the husband was the one who sweetly did the breakfast packing.  Unfortunately I requested an apple to go with my bar and he provided a rock-hard nectarine instead.  No fruit for me.

Lunch was a very special feast.

One of our classmates owns the famous, local restaurant Romeo and Juliet’s Cafe and she brought us in a spread.

I had veggie pizza,

a stuffed pepper,

and salad.

And then I couldn’t help going back for a 2nd slice of pizza.

The stuff on the side is honey mustard dressing and house-made red pepper flake mayo.  I dipped my crust in the sauces and was in absolute heaven.

She brought in dessert too.

I finally ate my first cannoli!  Loved it!

I bought espresso to drink with my dessert like a real Italian.

A double shot with tons of skim milk and a few shakes of vanilla sugar.

Continuing the excitement, we watched a movie in class this afternoon (it was appropriate, it was a food movie!).  Fresh is a documentary that examines the pros and cons of organic versus factory farming and looks at our country’s food system as a whole.  A lot of cool people took part in it, including Michael Pollan and Joel Salatin.  We all really enjoyed the movie and I highly recommend that you check it out.  None of the information was really new to me but it was a great reminder that I need to do a better job of sticking with my principles when we go out to eat.  Adam and I only purchase humanely raised meat to cook at home and ideally that is the only type of meat I ever want to consume.

Even more exciting, we got the news that we are getting the day off tomorrow.  I am going to go to the mall with some friends and I couldn’t be more jazzed.  <– honestly, I clapped my hands and squealed when someone suggested it and I have no idea why because I’m not even going to be buying anything

I had big plans to make up yesterday’s run this afternoon and it just didn’t happen.  Actually, I got up and dressed in running clothes this morning (shoes, sports bra, everything) and made it as far as the couch.  I thought I would be able to redeem myself after class but I was dreading the run.  Every time I got up to go I just felt sad.  I need to do a better job of pushing through and working out more consistently (more in general!) but I love running so much that I hate to do it when I’m not going to enjoy it.

I did finally make that soup though.

Tex-Mex Chicken Soup from Cooking Light.  It was very good but not great.  I was mostly to blame for leaving out important ingredients.

my (mostly stupid) changes to the recipe

  • used 1/2 Tbsp less evoo
  • subbed green bell pepper instead of red (do you have any idea how expensive red pepper are?!)
  • subbed pickled jalapeño
  • skipped the cumin, cilantro, and queso (again, $)
  • skipped the tomato
  • used homemade shredded chicken and stock

I liked the spice level, especially with the pops of sweet corn.

I know this sounds strange, but I think I would have liked it better without the chicken!

Also this happened.


Finally, a product update – Smoke and Ashes from China Glaze’s Capitol Colours line (as seen in this post) has a great slate color but it chips like crazy.

Do not recommend.

Wow, that was a long post!

Have you seen “Fresh” yet?  What did you think?

Vegan Month Challenge

Ugh.  Today was day 3 of no diet soda and I’m seriously cranky.  Also, when I woke up there was no food in the house (vegan or otherwise) and I’ve been starving all day.  It was one of those situations where I waited so long to eat that I never got full, even now.  Oh, oh, oh!  And I’m annoyed because I have projects I want to start and we haven’t been given all of the information that we need yet.  Okay, I think that’s it for the complaints!

Breakfast was a smoothie.

I found this Vega Tropical Tango smoothie mix (HLS sample) in the cupboard and blended it with 1 cup of orange juice and 7 oz of frozen soursop pulp.

It tasted better than it looked.

My classes went well, though I was cranky the entire time.  Thinking about my newest reason to love Kristen Bell helped.  I made sure to run to Wegmans for an emergency grocery stock-up the minute class was over!

I ate this handful of peanuts x 3 when I got home.

Dinner was stir fry.

We stir fried a bunch of veggies – frozen brocoli/carrot/cauliflower mix, plus more frozen broccoli, plus canned stir fry mushrooms, and canned baby corn – with stir fry sauce and topped with a few toasted cashews.

Tasty, but it didn’t even make a dent in my hunger.

Next I had a huge (2 cups, aka 2 servings) bowl of Wegman’s Berry Corn Crunch Cereal with Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk.

And a huge spoonful of Dark Chocolate Dreams pb.

And now I’m going to go have some popcorn.  I swear that all of vegan month won’t be like this, it’s just that I waited to long to eat and I let my hunger get out of control!

February = Vegan Month Challenge

We’ve done this so many times now that this announcement feels like it doesn’t require much fanfare.

During February of 2012, Adam and I will be doing a 1-month vegan challenge.  No eggs, no dairy, no meat, no honey, and no products containing any of the aforementioned.  No, we didn’t choose February because it’s the shortest month.  Yes, we are excited.

Over the years I’ve done three different challenge introductions and three different challenge recaps (see the links above) on my blog and I feel like there’s no new way to explain why we are choosing to do this.  Basically –

While I think a vegan diet can be healthy for some individuals, I don’t think it is healthy long-term for everyone.
I think that everyone can be healthier if their diet includes more vegan meals and less meat.
Adam and I have both been in a healthy diet rut recently and a month of vegan meals will force us to spend some time with vegetables again.
1 month is a good way to remind myself that not every dish needs cheese.

Would any omnivores be interested in joining me for the month?

It’s About The Week

Since Tuesday was completely devoid of veggies I made sure to fit some into every single meal today!  My life is still so all over the place and some days I don’t even come close to eating the healthiest diet.  I try to make up for those days by getting in extra nutrients on the days where I can.  Healthy living is more how your week looks than any one day in isolation.

For breakfast I got in a massive dose of Potassium and Vitamin K, aka pumpkin.

Into the blender went:

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup Plain Fat-free Stonyfield yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup

I ended up with a massive smoothie!

Lunch was all about Folate, or chick peas.

I topped a leftover half serving of channa marsala with some mango chutney.

I also snacked on this baggie of Combos during my last class.

I didn’t say every food choice was about nutrition, some things you eat just for fun!

Dinner was all about Lycopene (and some others), with baked eggplant in tomato sauce.

This dish was so darn good, even as leftovers!  A billion times better than it looks, that’s for sure.  I’m going to publish the recipe soon as part of a Foodbuzz sample post, it deserves some love.

The other half of dinner was mini rigatoni with sharp cheddar and evoo.

This bowl was delicious and I definitely went back for a full serving of seconds!  Plus a few big handfuls of unphotographed kettle chips; we had some reeeeeeally frustrating things happen at school today and I might have been stress nibbling a bit.

When you eat for health do you tend to look at things day by day or take more of a weekly approach?

Red Fish, Blue Fish, Green Dog?

If I start this post by saying I haven’t been very productive today, will that be too predictable?!  I’m in a cold-weather/program-frustration/lack-of-exercise induced rut!  But I’m making a commitment to going to bed early and pushing my way out of it tomorrow.

At least all of my eats today were tasty.  Like my in-class breakfast trio.

Wegman’s Plain 0% Greek Yogurt (which is quite good and can hold its own against the big brands; though it is more similar to Chobani than Fage as it is less thick),

Fiber One Honey Squares Cereal sample (this had a gross fake-sweetener aftertaste – Sucralose was on the ingredient list – but was very filling for 80 calories),

and a honey stick.

Since my trio only had about 200 calories or so, I supplemented breakfast with a Banana Nut Bar that Odwalla generously sent me to try out.

Love!  I actually tried this in college (the first time!) and loved it then too.  220 calories, .5 grams of saturated fat, 5 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.  Plus it packs good amounts of many vitamins, including 25% daily value each of calcium and folate and 50% vitamin e.  The bar is chewy and a bit crumbly, just like banana bread!  I shared bites with two classmates who agreed that this was the best fake (<– aka not literally just a banana) banana flavor ever.

My breakfasts held me over nicely too; I had to run several errands after class and I didn’t get to eat lunch until close to 2:30.  Actually, my breakfasts held me over well until around 1, and then I was cranky.  I went frozen meal quick for lunch.

Another Lean Cuisine win, Chicken Enchilada Suiza.

I supplemented this meal with popcorn.

There’s always room for Jell-O popcorn.

I took the doggy on a long walk this afternoon (that’s productive!) and before I knew it the husband was home and it was time for dinner.

No matter what little tweaks you make to the ingredients, turkey Reubens are always good!

This guy was GH sourdough bread, 1000 island dressing, sauerkraut 2 slices of Applegate Farms Honey and Maple Turkey, and 2 slices of 2% Swiss.  I ate at least another slice worth’s of bread in nibbles, Great Harvest is seriously the best.

With roasted green beans on the side.

A winner of a dinner.

Blue Fish, Red Fish, Green Dog?

Calling all pet owners, we could use some advice.  How do you clean up after your dog while staying green? 

Adam and I pride ourselves on being pretty environmentally friendly but Webster seems to have doubled our plastic and paper consumption.  Since he is home by himself for long stretches of time (and since he is a small dog with a small bladder in a third floor apartment) he has to do about 50% of his “business” inside the apartment.  When he’s not out on a walk, he “goes” on pee pads.

I don’t feel bad about using these because they are basically unavoidable and we have him reuse each one two or three times.  However, being the asshole that he is, only about 2/3 of his going takes place on the pee pads.  The rest of his business goes on the floor.  Number 2 requires a baggie and Clorox wipe (don’t worry, we use a different brand without harsh chemicals, I’m just too lazy to look up the name of them) and number 1 requires several paper towels and wipe.  I’ve thought about using paper towels for pick-up at home (wasting more paper but conserving plastic), but on walks we have to use a baggie.

For the past few months we’ve been leaving our reusable bags at home and reusing the plastic bags we take home from the grocery.  This is the cheapest solution but Adam and I both felt badly about how wasteful it was.  When we ran out of baggies and were forced into purchasing some I think we both were a little relieved (and we’ll go back to reusable bags for groceries).  In fact, one of my errands today was purchasing these –

These Green Bone bags are biodegradable and made from cornstarch.

So that’s an improvement but I’m still hoping to find a better solution.

Pet owners, how do you take good care of your furry friends while still taking care of the planet?

Blog Reading for Cultural Expansion

I was not very productive today.  Just ask the homework that has to be done this weekend and the run that has to be done tomorrow!  But I cuddled with my puppy, had a good class at school, and got my teeth fixed; so the day wasn’t a total wash.

It’s possible I even started the day off in poor form.  I had to give a presentation in class today so I headed in early.  Sidenote – don’t you love my semi-professional outfit?  I felt like fall!

On my drive to school I realized (for the first time in three weeks of making the same drive) that I pass a Wilson Farms.  WF has my favorite coffee so I knew a stop was in order.  Unfortunately I just kept acting dippier.  First, I got a pumpkin spice latte when it is still apple month!  Next, I walked past at least five signs proclaiming “free 16 ounce coffees for all,” and poured, and paid for, a 20 ounce coffee.  Frick!  The cashier thought I was nuts. 

At least it was delicious.  I did half pumpkin spice coffee (unsweet) and half pumpkin spice cappuccino (sweet) and it was perfection.

And minus my caffeine shakes, our presentation went great.  The class all had to evaluate each other and Janessa and I got nothing but good reviews.  It helps when you bribe them with food!

That’s marble halvah (a sweet, sesame based treat) that we brought in to showcase as one of the foods from our Jewish Food Habits presentation.  A few people found the aftertaste to be strange, but most of the class loved it.  Halvah is one of my very favorite sweets and I ate at least two servings.

During our 10:30 break I also wandered over to the campus Freshens for a smoothie.

I ordered the Maui Mango (Mango, Strawberries, Bananas, Passion Fruit, Juice Blend & Booster) but I think they gave me the wrong cup because all I could taste was peaches.

It wasn’t very good and probably ended up only drinking about half.  I looked up the nutritional info which stated ~300 calories per smoothie, so I still can’t figure out why it was so disgustingly sweet.

Our class today was a lot of fun.  In addition to Judaism there were presentations on 7th Day Adventist, Mormon, Greek Orthodox, Native American, Alaskan, and Rastafarian food selection and restrictions.  I didn’t really learn anything new, but it was all fun info to revisit.  It’s always interesting to me how much cultural background knowledge I seem to have compared to my friends (who know all sorts of things about other subjects that I know nothing about).  I’m not sure if it’s from my interest in Anthropology or from the diverse places I’ve gotten to live.  I grew up with Rastafarians and have read a lot about Native American cultures but my exposure to Mormons has been through blog friends.  Reading blogs has definitely been a factor in introducing me to new things!

Lunch was easy and soft to chew.

I don’t eat a ton of “diet food,” but I actually really enjoy some Lean Cuisine flavors.  The Roasted Turkey is a favorite.

Confession?  The stuffing in there is actually my very favorite of all the stuffings (homemade included) I’ve ever tried!

I also took several soft bites of Biscoff straight from the jar for dessert.

After my teeth were fixed I could finally move on to foods with chew and crunch factor for dinner.

Mango, pineapple, tiny piece of watermelon.

Udon noodles, a veggie eggroll, and more veggies – including some very tasty bok choy – hidden on the bottom.

Note – when I made this plate I still thought I was running or I probably wouldn’t have gone quite so heavy on the carbs.  But then in rolled a big storm and out rolled not being a big fatty.  At least I’m excited to get tackling my to-do’s tomorrow!

Mormon, 7th Day Adventist, Native American, or Rastafarian – do you follow any bloggers who have these backgrounds?

Healthy Living Summit 2011 Mega Recap

This post is going to be huge, so there are a few facts I want to establish before I begin –

* The Healthy Living Summit (HLS) was fabulous and I had a wonderfully fun time.  However, since I didn’t have internet all weekend this is going to be a monster post and I’m not going to include as many details as I’d like.

* I met and hung out with some amazing people.  So many, in fact, that I think it makes the most sense for me not to link back to anyone.

* I snapped a photo of every piece of food that went into my mouth but I wasn’t so good on people or places; I was too busy enjoying those things to photograph them.

Okey doke, let’s start from the beginning…

So, this happened exactly halfway between Buffalo and Philly –

Usually a picture of a flat tire would be followed by many four letter words but the only one I could think of was l-u-c-k.  My trip to Philly was greasy, two hours longer than planned and completely exhausting, but I actually started crying because I felt so grateful.  The things I am thankful for –

  • It rained 70% of my trip but not a drop fell during the two hours I was standing on the side of the road changing my tire.
  • My tire blew on a small side road and not when I was going 70 mph on the highway.
  • I was able to take off the nuts and jack up the car all by myself, and if the tire hadn’t been completely rusted to the axle I probably could have done the entire thing myself like a total badass.
  • The nicest man on earth not only stopped to help me out, but drove back to his house for the sledgehammer it took to get my tire off.
  • The nice man gave me directions to his nice friends’ body shop, where they replaced my tire and fixed me up for only $20.

Isn’t the world amazing?  Before the whole debacle I drank a guava Rockstar for breakfast,

and afterwards I shakily ate the half turkey sandwich with cheese and cranberry mayo that I packed from the Co-op. 

And I made it (with aching forearms) to Philly with time to shower and change before the HLS cocktail party.

The drinks, provided by Drink Chia, were super tasty.

This cocktail was a mix (I believe) of Drink Chia, strawberries, and vodka.  It tasted sort of like a bubble tea with mini bobba!

The food was pretty good as well.

I had a corn and crab fritter, a piece of pretzel crusted chicken, a few small bites, plus another piece of the chicken.

Everything was tasty but there wasn’t quite enough sustenance for dinner so a few of us ended up in the hotel restaurant for a late night snack.

I went with the s’mores mousse shooter.

Plus I scarfed up one of the Lindt truffles they brought with the bill.

It was a sweet end to the first day.

The next morning (Saturday) we were up bright and early for breakfast.  Cereal with skim milk,

an Oikos drinkable yogurt with a juicy plum – sidenote, I feel like I had food dripping down my face this whole weekend! –

and a much-needed coffee.

Around this point I realized I probably should be snapping more pictures like a good blogger.

Though I did snag a shot of me with two of my roomies.

I didn’t love the Quaker Smashbar provided on the snack break so I only ate half of it.

But I did love the RD Quaker provided as the key-note speaker.  She wrote a book on being a flexatarian and I loved her points about embracing plants more than avoiding meats.  In fact, all of the sessions were pretty darn informative and inspirational.

Before I knew it, it was time for lunch.

Side salad for greens,

quinoa salad, which had some sort of acid component that took it over the top,

and half a tofu sandwich on Great Harvest bread, squeal!

For dessert I grabbed a milk chocolate crunch Attune probiotic bar.

I had no idea these would be so delicious!  I was very excited to see some coupons in my swag bag.

After the sessions we went to do some city exploring.

Here are all my roomates,

and here is the Liberty Bell.

I’m glad we sight-saw in the way that we did, because our travels took us to Farmacia for dinner.

Yum, seriously just yum x 1000.  The wait staff was so sweet and accommodating of our 12-person party, the space was adorable, and the food was delicious.

I was ravenous and I think my heart actually skipped a beat when this bread and herbed butter were brought to the table.

I ate this slice times two.

Since it was a vacation I went with a John Daly to drink.

Sweet tea vodka and fresh squeezed lemonade, yes please!  A few people sipped my drink and we all agreed it was the best Arnold Palmer ever.

And then came the food.  Which was basically ridiculous.

I ordered the sweet corn and risotto croquettes.  Which came with garden veggie ratatouille,

and sautéed spinach that blew my mind.  It must have been the butter sauce that was floating on my plate.

The spinach was the best thing I ate all weekend, but the croquettes were perfect too; crunchy and creamy all at the same time.  I ate 1.5 croquettes and all of my veggies and was basically in heaven.

You know I have to get self-serve froyo if I’m in a new city.

I got peanut butter, cream cheese (!!), and tart, topped with all the berries, caramel sauce, and sprinkles.

Fueled by sugar, a group of us stayed up until practically 3am!  Normally a 3 am bedtime and 8 am Sunday workout would feel brutal, but I think I was too excited to be tired.  I don’t have any pictures, but I did participate in the HLS 5k.  A huge group walked/ran around the city including the Rocky steps.

When we got back it was time for oatmeal.

Topped with flax, cinnamon, and walnuts.

I also had about a billion mugs of Tazo Earl Grey tea with skim milk.

I am completely obsessed (I stole a few packets from breakfast!) and need to buy this asap.

After the festivities wrapped, a group of us did some more exploring around Philly.

This is what happens when you give bloggers a group photo-op –

For lunch we sought out Philly cheese steaks.  I found success at the Basic 4 Vegetarian Snack Bar.

This monster was vegan, but there is basically no way that the traditional meat sandwich could be better.

I left a lot of the bread, but gobbled up the “meat” which was crunchy in the most pleasing way.  Such a great way to end the weekend!

Around 2 I made my final goodbyes and headed out.  Though I did stop at Whole Foods for an Argo Tea Mojitea for the road.

It was very tasty, but my next two drinks were much more telling.  A grande white mocha coconut frappuccino with 2 extra shots of espresso.

And a huge diet pop with a splash of cherry coke.

Can you say exhausted?!  But I made it home in one piece and had a wonderful weekend to boot!

Did you attend HLS?  What’d you think?