Monthly Archives: June 2011

A Day of Easy Meals

I try and bring breakfast and lunch with me to work everyday. Not only because we usually have amazing food at home, but it also saves a ton money and leftovers from my house are normally way better than anything I would get anywhere else anyways. Breakfast is pretty much always the same: crock pot oatmeal (creature of habit here!).  But this week I haven’t been able to get it together to make my oatmeal in advance and plan my lunches ahead of time. So I’ve had to improvise….

Breakfast today was my newly invented Quick Steel Cut Oatmeal (haha, yes I am never going to get over my obsession with oatmeal)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze almond milk (or water if you aren’t adventurous)
  • 1/4 cup instant steel cut oats (I like the Trader Joe’s kind)
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seed butter
  • handful of raisins
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Bring almond milk to a boil (in either the microwave or stove top).
  2. Place steel cut oats and chia sides in a large bowl. Pour boiling almond milk over the top. (Make sure to do this in a large bowl because these babies expand when you microwave them.)
  3. Microwave bowl for 3 minutes. Stir. Microwave for an additional 2-3 minutes. (PS the bowl gets REALLY hot).
  4. Add your sunflower butter and raisins and eat.

Yummy

For lunch I made myself a caprese sandwich (my favorite kind). I layered a Thomas’ everything bagel thin with olive tapenade, three roasted tomatoes, and a couple balls of mozzarella. Popped it in the toaster oven for 4 minutes. I ate it open faced to give myself the illusion that it was bigger than it was.

I was exhausted by the time I got home, so you know what that means? Cheerios for dinner!

After I ate I was taking photos to put up on the blog tonight. I squated down to get the right angle and this happened:

Yup, I ripped my pants. Guess taking this morning off from the gym was a bad idea, haha! My inner dialogue said “Hey, this is what you get for taking pictures of food all day!” I can’t help but laugh looking at this photo! Taking these pups to the tailor tomorrow.

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My Thoughts on Sunflower Seed Butter and Chia Seeds

Recently I have been reading a lot about Sunbutter (sunflower seed butter/spread) and Chia Seeds. My daily list of cooking/health/fitness blogs seem to love it. Some people make Sunflower Seed Butter granola, some add chia seeds to their daily oatmeal, so I was intrigued. What’s the big deal?

Sunbutter: Sunflower Seed Butter

What’s the Deal: The benefit of sunflower seed butter is that it is supposed to be a good alternative for other nut butters (almond, peanut, etc.). It has the same healthy fats as other nut butters and is packed with minerals. I went on Amazon to investigate all of the different brands. (I think Amazon is the best and worst place to shop. The best because they have everything and the worst because I can never help myself and always overdo it i.e. The “You May Like This” recommendation list usually ends up in my cart). They had all sorts of sunflower seed butter, but I ended up going with this once since it was recommended the most by other bloggers. Of course Amazon doesn’t just sell one jar of this stuff, they sell a pack of three. As I clicked “BUY” I heard my inner voice saying “you better like this stuff, it’s going to last a while.”

Consensus: It’s OK. Honestly I prefer almond butter. And if I’m going to switch out my peanut butter for anything, it’s probably not going to be this. It’s good, it tastes just like sunflower seeds (what did I expect right?), and if you have a nut allergy it’s the way to go.

How I ate it: After my healthy dinner last night, I of course wanted a treat and I wanted to dig right into this stuff to see what it was all about. So I grabbed a graham cracker and spread it on thick.

 But I figured if I was really having a treat then I needed some chocolate. So I added some nutella…

…yup, it was perfect. The mix of the sunflower seed taste and the hazelnut nutella was a winner. I will be adding this to the “healthy dessert” rotation I have going on (this rotation also includes nutella and cool whip on an apple as well as fro yo)… yes, I have a sweet tooth!

Chia Seeds

What’s the Deal: I’ve been seeing these little seeds pop up on almost every blog I read. So I figured there has to be something behind it, right? Right. Apparently they increase your energy, decrease appetite, are low in calories and high in Omega 3’s and protein. I went on Amazon to buy these too. I wanted to try them (like a small bag), but guess what? The smallest size that  Amazon carries is a 2 pound bag. I thought “What the heck? I already have three jars of sunflower seed butter coming anyways. Yup, just add this two pound bag to the cart.” Well let me tell you 2 pounds of seeds is a LOT of seeds.

Consensus: They honestly don’t taste like anything. I mean if you take down a whole handful (like I did since I was really trying to figure out how to describe the taste) then they sort of resemble poppy seeds. So bottom line, if they don’t taste like anything and they have all of these amazing health benefits you better believe I will be putting them on EVERYTHING (well at least my daily oatmeal.

How I Ate it: Put it on top of my oatmeal this morning. It changed the texture a bit (since there were hard seeds in my soft oatmeal), but still delicious.

Also topped my steel cut oats with raisins from the Farmer’s Market and some of the Sunbutter (I do have 3 jars to get through)…

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Streak of Bad Luck

What is up with my luck this week? Yesterday I was putting on earrings to go out to dinner and one dropped on my carpet (yes this bright pink shag carpet). I bent over and it was GONE, seriously I have spent over an hour over the past two days looking and I can’t find it anywhere. How can it actually disappear?

Where is my second half?

I was so preoccupied with my lost earring that on my way out of the house I bumped my shin AND my arm on two different walls (seriously, I ran into walls). And then this morning while I was driving to work, I knocked my iphone into an open cup of water. Yup, in the water. Everything worked fine except I couldn’t hear when anyone spoke. Yes, this is a problem. So I did my research and dumped my phone in a bowl with rice for the whole morning. And guess what? I can hear again! It was still a ton of anxiety and I was just annoyed with myself all day for letting it happen since I was distracted.

Phone in the rice

So I tried to put this all behind me when I got home (even though it was all l I could think about). My mom is out of town again, so it was my turn to make dinner for dad and myself. I did have some help since my mom had made some chicken tortilla soup earlier in the week… so we had soup and fresh caprese salad.

Tortilla Soup

Caprese

The salad was SUPER easy (mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, splash of olive oil, some salt and pepper and chopped basil). At least I didn’t screw up dinner right?

Here’s to hoping my luck changes tomorrow because I am not going to be happy if I lose or break another possession!

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Care Packages Take 2

I was in that “I’m sad and lonely and feel bad for myself” mentality yesterday, so what did I do? Head to my happy place aka Target and stocked up on care package goodies for Q. When Q and I were talking yesterday, he said he thinks that I like buying and putting together care packages almost as much as he likes getting them… TRUE. There is something euphoric about packing the perfect care package box. It’s like fitting a bunch of puzzle pieces together (hmmm, no room for red vines, let’s put in some sunflower seeds instead). I definitely picked up enough goodies for 5-6 packages, excellent! PS Q if you are reading this, TURN AWAY NOW.

Some highlights of this care package run:

  • Fruit flavored gum and Jolly Ranchers (they chew lots of gum and jolly ranchers to stay awake on night missions)
  • Wet Ones (no showers for weeks at a time = lots of wet wipes)
  • Reisens (Q’s favorite candy, we will see if these hold up in the heat…)
  • Cereal Bars and Trail Mix/Granola bars (Q asked for healthy snacks, they have plenty of pop tarts, but nothing healthy to snack on)
  • Beef Jerky (since they don’t normally eat lunch, Q likes to eat this)
  • Tuna Mix, soups and protein bars (lunch)
  • M&Ms, animal cookies and candy (sweet treats… I couldn’t help myself)

And yes, it takes tons of discipline not to eat the snacks before I pack them away.

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Sunday Farmers’ Market

My favorite thing to do on a Sunday morning is to go to the Hollywood Farmers’ Market with my mom. As long as I can remember we have gone to the market and picked out fresh produce for the week.

Strawberries

I can’t thank my mom enough for teaching me about fresh vegetables and fruit ever since I was a toddler. Our house is always fully stocked with farmers’ market fruit and vegetables and it makes it so easy to eat healthy.

Beans

I love talking through recipes and ideas with my mom, like “How should we cook these beans?” or “Why pick golden beets over red beets?” She is like a walking cook book, she has answers for everything.

Golden and Red Beets

There is something about food that looks like this that makes you hungry.

Nectarines

We stocked up on fruits and veggies and also picked up some peonies

And sunflowers

And a homemade tamale for lunch!

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Last Minute Bagel Sandwich

When my dinner plans fell through at the last minute tonight, I had to think of a plan B. Part of me just wanted to go and get Veggie Grill, but as I was sitting in bed reading through my food/fitness/healthy blogs, I came across this sandwich made with kidney beans and I thought “this looks easy,” so I concocted this masterpiece.

I was starving and this took all of 5 minutes to make. I know all the ingredients together sound weird and like maybe it won’t be that tasty, but it was actually delicious!

I toasted up a Thomas bagel thin I had in the fridge, but really andy type of bread or pita would work. I used Feta cheese which we had picked up at the Farmer’s Market earlier in the week, but any type of cheese will work (goat, mozzarella, or even pepper jack).

Koko’s Bagel and Kidney Bean Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 1 Thomas Bagel Thin (or other sandwich bread or pita) toasted
  • 2 tablespoons olive tapenade (you can use hummus or pesto also)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese (or a few slices of any other kind)
  • 1/2 can of kidney beans

Directions:

  1. Spoon tapenade over both halves of the bagel thin. Sprinkle feta over top.

Step 1

2.   Place kidney beans in a bowl, heat in microwave for 30 seconds. Mash with a spoon.

3.   Spoon kidney beans over one side of the bagel. Combine halves and eat!

Step 3

I could have eaten three of these… but I restrained myself. I have a feeling this is going to be added into my lunch rotation very soon. Yummy!!!

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Summer Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

This is by far and away my favorite summer dish ever. I wait and wait until our homegrown cherry tomatoes are ripe enough to make this pasta for dinner.

It has the perfect combination of pasta, tomatoes, basil and mozzarella (I love all of those ingredients when they are separate, so together it is like heaven!). Since I usually stir clear of pasta (it has the same effect on me that cupcakes do aka I can’t stop eating even after my stomach says “no more please”), this pasta is a serious treat for me.

We like to serve it with a salad, so you feel SEMI healthy eating it

Oh and yes that is avocado you spot on the salad. We couldn’t help it…

Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of ripe cherry tomatoes, halved (homegrown is best)
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (use the Cusinart)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound penne, fusilli or farfallini pasta
  • Chopped fresh basil (to your taste, we use about a half cup)
  • Fresh buffalo mozzarella (to your taste, we use about a half cup), cubed

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the tomato halves in a large baking dish (a glass pyrex works well).
  2. Spoon 3 tablespoons of olive oil over your tomatoes. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for 20 minutes, remove from oven and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle mixture over roasted tomatoes and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. In a large bowl of salted, boiling water, cook the pasta for about 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain well.
  6. Add tomato mixture to the drained pasta. Add the basil and cubed mozzarella and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

ENJOY!

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