Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger Frustration

I have been having some issues with Blogger.  Two days ago, I wrote an entire post before finding out that Blogger was down and it didn't save anything.   That was annoying.

Yesterday, I went back to Blogger, only to find out that it was down again!  And it remained down all last night and all this morning.  So, I am done.

I have migrated my blog to wordpress.  I'm sorry for the confusion, but I think that wordpress will by much more stable and will ultimately be a better platform for me.

You can find my blog here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Healthy Carrot Cake?!?!?

I am ultimately a creature of habit.  Once I find something that I like, I tend to stick with it.  That's why I go through about a jar of peanut butter every two weeks and probably bought about 10 boxes of Whole Foods Peanut Butter Pows this year.  Hmm, I just reread that sentence, and I think that it says a little bit more about my own personal addictions than I intended it to...

Anyway, once I find something I like, I will usually just use/eat/wear it until I can't anymore.  This is exactly the fate that befell my favorite flip-flops a few weeks ago.  The strap simply broke.  So, what did I do?  If you answered wait until you got home and then begged your mom to help you find the same kind of flippys again, you would be correct.
Please ignore my gross feet.
Another thing that is quickly becoming a habit is my newfound favorite snack food, microwave protein muffins!  I found the original recipe for these on SmoothieGirlEatsToo.  And I have been making them in various different ways almost every day!  They have a ton of protein, are really filling, and they satisfy my almost insatiable sweet tooth.  Today, I made one that was carrot cake themed!

Microwave Carrot Cake Protein Muffin
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp crushed pineapple
1/2 cup eggbeaters all whites
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp splenda (or 1 packet)
2 tbsp shredded carrots
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tbsp Philadelphia whipped cream cheese

Take a soup or cereal bowl and coat the inside with nonstick cooking spray.  In the bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and splenda until combined.  Add the crushed pineapple, egg whites, shredded carrots and chopped walnuts and mix.  Place in the microwave and cook for approximately 3 minutes (may take a little less or a little more time depending on your microwave).  The muffin is done when the sides pull away from the bowl and the center is firm but rebounds when you touch it.  Invert the bowl over a paper plate and run a knife around the edges until the muffin releases from the bowl.  Top with cream cheese and eat!

I may have also drizzled a bit of honey over the top.  I have a serious sugar problem.  It tastes like carrot cake and it's good for you.  Since the lovely Ida was so impressed with the nutrition info on the last recipe I posted, I thought I would add it to this one too!
Nutrition without toppings
You can also experiment with different flavors by getting rid of the carrots and walnuts and switching the pineapple for yogurt, applesauce, or mashed banana (I may have another awesome idea planned for another blog post, but you'll just have to wait for it).    

So, what do you all think?  Any ideas for variations?  Am I a crazy person?  Do you like my toenail polish (purple polish and green flippys, best combo ever!)?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cashew Butter Pasta Primavera

Well, I was all over the place today.  I was running around doing errands all day with my mom and sister.  We dropped off some old clothes at the Salvation Army, sold some old books to Half-Price Books, went to the gym, and got some shoes for the sister.  So, when it was time for dinner, I realized that I was absolutely starvin' Marvin.  We had a ton of fresh veggies from Hy Vee to use up, so I decided to make a veggie pasta primavera!

I saw a dish called Straw and Hay Pasta at Founding Farmers last time I was there.  It had asparagus, long noodles, and peas.  I thought it looked awesome, but it had bacon in it and probably a ton of heavy cream, so I didn't get it.  But, I thought that I could recreate it, leaner, meaner, and with a couple of twists, at home.  So, that is what I did.

Cashew Butter Pasta Primavera  
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 tbsp Tahini
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
8 oz spaghetti
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup sliced zucchini
1 cup asparagus (cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces)
Black pepper

Put 1 tbsp oil in a skillet over medium heat.  When hot, add the garlic and cook for one minute.  Add the cashews and toast for three minutes, stirring often.  Allow the cashews to cool and transfer them to a food processor.  Puree until smooth, adding about 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp Tahini.  The consistency should be a little thinner than peanut butter.  Add lemon and crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.

Cashew butter/pasta sauce
Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt it.  Add asparagus and cook for two minutes, then add the zucchini and cook for 2 minutes, add the peas and cook for another 2 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.  Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente.  Drain the pasta, reserving about half a cup of the cooking liquid.

Mix three tablespoons of the cashew butter into the pasta and add the blanched vegetables.  Add some of the reserved cooking liquid if the sauce is too thick.  Toss pasta until evenly covered with sauce.

It makes a ton and is pretty healthful too!  The cashew butter gives it an almost creamy texture, so you don't even miss the heavy cream.  Pretty good stuff.
So, what do you guys think?  Any good ideas for variations?  Gonna try it soon?  Am I a crazy person?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

So...It's Been Awhile

I will admit, I fell behind a bit on blogging.  My last days in D.C. were pretty hectic with finals, moving out of the dorms and moving into my summer accommodations.  It was kinda bittersweet.  I was so glad to be going home for awhile to see my family and not have to deal with school, but I hated that I had to say goodbye to so many people.  Since I will be in Brussels next semester, there are some people that I won't see until spring of next year!  That said, I couldn't help but feel relieved that I have an entire month to laze around before I start my internship.

Of course, the first order of business when I got home was to reacquaint myself with the pantry!  Living in the dorms with only the amount of food that can fit in a mini-fridge means that whenever I come home I am amazed by the cornucopia of noms in the pantry.  You better believe I nom'ed on some greek yogurt and fresh fruit and veggies as soon as I got home.

After I ate my fill of wonderful, full-sized fridge food, I turned my attention to Mother's Day!  Now, for those of you that don't know me, I have pancakes for breakfast on Sunday, Mother's Day is also on Sunday.  So, what did I do to show my appreciation for my wonderful mother on this special day?  I made her special Mother's Day pancakes from scratch!

I adapted the recipe for these pancakes from the Chobani website, which makes my favorite Greek yogurt and added some awesome toppings for a brilliant, healthy, breakfast.  And since I  was blessed with the infinitely amusing gift of a Williams Sonoma pancake pen this Christmas, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to make them heart shaped!

 Chobani Lemon Pancakes with Cherry Jam

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup eggbeaters
  • 1 1/2 cup (2, 6oz Containers) Lemon 0% Chobani Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • vegetable oil cooking spray
  • cherry jam
  • powdered sugar
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate container, mix eggbeaters, almond milk, and 2 containers of lemon Chobani.  Whisk together wet and dry ingredients.  Heat skillet to medium heat and add cooking spray.  Scoop 1/4 cup of pancake batter into pan and flip when bubbles form in the batter and pancake is golden brown. Serve with cherry jam and powdered sugar.
I think that she enjoyed them, and since this recipe made just about a million small heart-shaped pancakes, so did my sisters, my dad, and I.  In fact, my dad told me that he wasn't sure how they would turn out but he thought they were pretty good with the yogurt.  Of course, this was on his third trip to the counter for pancakes...

I am going to try and post more frequently now that I am not writing finals and moving, so look for more posts coming soon!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Founding Farmers Post-Final Food

So, I have a little math question for all of my lovely bloggies out there.  What do you get when you add...

2, 25-30 page research papers
3 written finals
32 books from the AU, Georgetown, George Washington, and...believe it or not...Brigham Young University Libraries
6 hours of sleep per night
= A very tired, stressed college student

And what is the best cure for stress?  Food, of course!  My mom, cousin, and aunts visited D.C. a couple of weeks ago and I wanted desperately to take them to Founding Farmers.  It's an awesome restaurant in the city that focuses on really fresh, delicious food.  It's also incredibly popular and, apparently, difficult to get into during Cherry Blossom season and we weren't going to wait the two and a half hours it would take to get a table.

The moral of the story? We left, Founding Farmer's-less and found a different restaurant.  However, my wonderful Aunt Mo must have seen the raw disappointment in my face at the prospect of missing out on the opportunity to eat at FF, and so she sent me a gift card to go and eat there with my friends (thanks Aunt Mo!).

So, I needed a post-finals, post-paper, celebratory dinner and I only had one place on my mind.  We made reservations, got dressed up (my roommates picked out my shirt because I apparently cannot be trusted to wear anything more fancy than a t-shirt and jeans when left to my own devices), and headed to Founding Farmers!

We had a lovely meal, consisting of a couple of shared appetizers.

An amazing fried green tomato with goat cheese spread and a cornbread skillet with honey butter.  The roomies and I were so famished that I totally forgot to take pictures before we dug in, but you guys get the idea.  I followed this yumminess with some FF butternut squash ravioli with brown butter sage sauce.

Founding Farmers makes their own pasta.  That's right, they fresh make the pasta every day and then fill it with magnificent pureed butternut squash.  It was great, simultaneously salty from the parmesan and sweet from the squash.  But it wouldn't have been a true night out if we had stopped there.

Beignets.  When we ordered them, our waitress said that it would take an extra fifteen minutes for them to make the batter and fry them up.  Freshly fried sugar covered beignets?  I would wait forever.

Yeah, it's a pretty cool place.  I'll be dragging people back.  A lot.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bar Hopping

So, this post is going to be about bar hopping...snack bar hopping that is!  You thought I was talking about booze didn't you?  Silly bloggies, I'm talking about when you have to make the terrible decision between snack/protein bars at the super market!

I would usually rather not eat snack bars.  I find that many of them have a lot of chemicals or weird additives that I am not a huge fan of.  That said, around finals time (now), I need snackage.  I need lots of snackage.  Snack bars are easy, healthy, and usually pretty high protein.  I always keep some around my dorm room (and one in my backpack) in case of emergency or extremely low blood sugar.  Sometimes, these little guys can be a lifesaver (hello, class from 9:55-2:00).  So, I thought I would share some of my favorites.

The first one is a bar that I tried relatively recently.  It's a Kashi Go Lean Crunchy bar.  I got the Cinnamon Coffee Cake because all of their other flavors have chocolate in them and I am not a fan of chocolate in my snack bars.  I liked this one, but it was really sweet.  Seriously, it tasted exactly like coffee cake, with all the sugar that implies.  The stats on this one are pretty decent for a snack bar.  160 cal, 8 g protein, 5 g fiber so it will keep you full for a long time!

For high protein goodness, it's tough to do better than balance bars.  They have a ton of protein, which is great for a veggie like me that needs to find alternative sources of it.  They also come in a ton of flavors (my favorite is the yogurt honey peanut).  At 200 calories, they are a bit of a more substantial snack than the others on this list, but it's worth it for the extra boost of protein.  They have a total of 15 grams of protein, but also come with 18 grams of sugar and only one gram of fiber.  I find that this is a great post-workout snack, but if I just need something to hold me over until dinner, then I will pick something else on this list.

My final pick has been my go-to snack this year, and I gotta say, I am loving it.  It's a Peanut Buddy bar from Nature's Path!  I like it because they are organic, have less sugar than most other bars out there, and are the perfect balance of salty and sweet.  I don't know if you bloggies know this about me, but I am nuts over peanut butter.  I also think I'm way funnier than I really am.  Anyway, these bars won me over with their peanut buttery goodness, 140 calories, 2 grams fiber and only 10 grams of sugar! The protein count on these isn't as good as some others (only 3 grams), but you have to make sacrifices for true love.

So, that's it! Bar hopping at it's finest.  I have finals all next week, so I predict that I will be surviving on these bad boys for a while.  But, at the end of the week, I get to go to FOUNDING FARMERS!!! It's an amazing restaurant in D.C. and I am so excited.  I will definitely post a review when I get back!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Falafel, Frites, and Fro-Yo Friday!!!

After much begging, whining, and general annoyingness, I convinced my friends that they needed to take me to get falafel this weekend.   Well, actually, I just asked.  They were (un)surprisingly ok with making a trip out to Amsterdam Falafel.

My roommates and I are kinda weird.  Our plans almost always revolve around food.  We try to go somewhere new most weekends and if a place gets a second visit, then you can bet that it’s pretty darn good.  So, when I say that we have a falafel tradition, you should know how serious that is. 

We call it Falafel, Frites, and Fro-yo Friday.  It’s magical.  And this weekend, I needed some falafel.  I could feel it calling out to me, asking why I don’t visit it more often...falafel’s kinda a needy meal.  Our falafel place is called Amsterdam Falafel, and it is the bomb diggity.  I say that with all of the seriousness and gravitas that I can muster.

It’s a tiny place in the middle of Adams Morgan.  They serve falafel, and frites, and brownies that’s it.  Don’t go in there thinking that you can cheat on falafel with some other sandwich, because they will slap you down.  Falafel is no joking matter.  This couple basically decided that they wanted a falafel and frites shop that could replicate the taste of the falafels and frites that they had enjoyed travelling around Europe and the Middle East.  So, they opened Amsterdam Falafel.

This place is cool for so many reasons.  The first is that I actually knew about it before any of my friends did because my dad and I had found it when were in D.C. for college tours, so it makes me feel like a local.  No big deal, I know this awesome hole in the wall falafel shop, etc.  The other reason it’s awesome is because you can get food there that looks like this. 

                                                                      *Falafel pita with baba ganoush, beets, red cabbage and tomatoes

That’s ma sanditch.  It was a beautiful sandwich, and it fought valiantly, but ultimately, it made the ultimate sacrifice and died a horrible death at the hands of a hungry vegetarian.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, falafel is a Middle Eastern dish that consists of ground chickpeas, made into a ball, fried, and stuffed into a pita.  At Amsterdam Falafel, you are given this sandwich and then told to go hogwild with the most amazing condiment bar in the world.  I always put baba ganoush and a bunch of veggies on mine.  I then inhale consume, in a completely normal and non-rushed manner, my falafel.  Amsterdam has one more thing that makes it completely awesome…

Frites.  Dutch-style French fries.  They’re amazing.  Not healthy, not healthy at all, but amazing.  They’re double fried and shoved into a paper cone for your eating enjoyment.  The seasoning that you see on those fries is Old Bay.  One of my roommates is from Maryland and they put that stuff on everything.  I think it’s mostly paprika, but it’s good so I don’t really care.  If you’re hardcore, which you know I am, you dip these fried sticks of wonderful into Dutch mayonnaise based frites sauce.  Heavenly.  

Of course, after all of this you might think that any normal individual wouldn't need to eat again for an entire year.  But the falafel is only one part of Falafel, Frites, and Fro-Yo Friday.  After we are done in Adams Morgan, the roomies and I usually walk to Dupont Circle (exercise, right?) and grab some Mr. Yogato.

                                                                      *Original tangy with blueberry and blackberry

Now, we're done.  And I don't need to ever eat again, at least until next time...