Another Way

I’m struggling a little with getting back on track in terms of exercising and my eating in general. After being on vacation, and no longer going to a personal trainer, I feel like a form that’s slowly decomposing into a sludgy, squishier version. Its not good.

So on Sunday I made a big giant batch of different kinds of roasted veggies to eat throughout the week, and made up slaw like salad to eat for lunches.

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Just looking at the giant bowl of shredded red cabbage, grated carrot, and red pepper slices left me with the feeling that I would 100% still eat a bag of gummy bears after lunch most days. So I had to figure out a way to make it more appealing.

Remember that peanut sauce I made?

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Oh yea, I went there. I made a “lighter” version of it; peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, braggs liquid aminos, and a splash of trader joes sesame vinaigrette [no idea what the actual name of it was]. Whisked over a low burner until smooth.

Toss with a giant bowl of veggies and I’ve got a solid three plus lunches out of it. Let me tell you, this stuff was even better after sitting in the fridge for a day. Creamy, crunchy. All that peanut butter goodness.

I had a bowl of this with a greek yogurt parfait on the side [plain unflavored greek yogurt, frozen mango cubes, flax seed, a tiny smidge of granola].

 

I know its about finding foods I like enough to replace my sugar snacks with until I don’t crave them as much. Swedish Fish are just so good though, its not easy. But mindless snacking AND not going to the gym regularly are a recipe for sludge pudge, so we’re eating healthy and looking into some gym options. Mister even had his spaghetti replaced with zucchini noodles the other night. Poor guy, I’m pretty sure he ate a second dinner after I went to bed.

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Peanut Noodle Bowls

I have a very clear memory of sitting at the small kids table in the front room [“the piano room” which later became “the computer room”] of my Mom’s house and being served a giant bowl of peanut noodles. I know there were other kids there, otherwise we would’ve been eating at the regular kitchen table. I know it was summer, or at least warm and sunny out. But other than that, my memory is really of the giant serving bowl filled with peanut butter goodness.

For me, as a child, peanut noodles felt like a trick that adults hadn’t quite figured out. Like Nutella, I wanted to point out that peanut butter was too delicious to be allowed for dinner. Especially over spaghetti.

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Even as an adult, peanut noodles feel like getting away with something.

But the other night, I made us heaping bowls of peanut noodles with broccoli, a little chicken for Mister and some leftover tofu for mine.

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I followed the recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything blog and it was exactly what I was looking for; the only change I made was I added more water to thin the recipe out quite a bit.

While the sauce was being made, I diced up a chicken breast for Mister and cooked it in a pan while simultaneously steaming some broccoli in the microwave and boiling pasta water.

I had completely forgotten about this little microwave steamer I picked up from Sears a few years ago.  I’m sure it would be easy to find something similar on Amazon, and it really is helpful for quick cooking as an alternative to buying those frozen Steam Fresh type veggie bags.

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Spicy Margarita, Bread, and Something for the Dogs

This past weekend was pretty low key – and one of the first weekends that Mister and I both had busy Saturdays planned separately.  While Mister went skiing with my Dad, I met a few women for brunch in Manhattan.

It is nice being walking distance to a Metro North station in Westchester – within 35-40 ish minutes I can go from my front door to Grand Central. Thankfully, the women I met up with were kind enough to choose a place just a few blocks from Grand Central to make brunch even easier.

Salvation Taco was the perfect spot for a girl’s brunch ; there was a steady stream of spicy margaritas and sangria while we were able to lounge around a coffee table on couches.   Thankfully one of us took command and ordered food for the table, which meant we were all able to share tacos, quesadillas, and wings. Everything had great flavor, and I personally loved the extra salty chips that came with an order of guacamole.

By Sunday morning, we were both excited for a lazy couch day – especially Mister after a very early and long day of skiing. We had mini bagels with the works [i.e. smoked salmon, tomato slices, and red onion] and coffee while on the couch. 010.JPG

While waiting for the coffee to brew, I spied the bread cookbook my Mom  had gifted me last week and thought the rainy Sunday was a great time to give something a try.

Bread Illustrated   is an America’s Test Kitchen cookbook – which means I was in love with it before even cracking the binding. For all beginners, scientists, curious cooks, or experimenters – try America’s Test Kitchen. What I love is they explain the why and the how to every single thing. For example, with my favorite meatloaf recipe of their’s – they showed the results from baking it in a glass loaf pan, a metal loaf pan, and free form on a sheetpan. They explain the merits of each situation, and ultimately recommend free form on a sheetpan for the ability to crisp up all the edges. I trust their recipes because they work, and they explain why.

Bread and rice seem to be my two nemesis in the kitchen. I can’t cook rice, and I struggle with bread.

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While it didn’t rise as much as I would’ve liked, the Whole Wheat variation on the American Sandwich Bread was perfection. The taste, texture, and even crust was really impressive. Thanks to the cookbook, I think I was able to pinpoint why the rise wasn’t ideal [water wasn’t warm enough for the yeast in the first rise, and it might’ve been too cold/drafty in my kitchen for the second rise].

I can confidently say, however, that I used said bread for my lunchtime sandwich at work today.  Feels pretty good to say, hey look I made this! [I didn’t actually do that, because I’m pretty sure that would just be strange. But like if someone asked…]

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While all this baking was going on , I felt bad for the dogs. Yes I’m a crazy dog mom, but we keep the dog treats on the counter where I was baking and they kept running in exactingly.  Since I had the oven going, and we weren’t doing anything other than laundry and watching tv most of the day, I decided to try a batch of dog biscuits as well.

I happened to have a set of dog related cookie cutters we had received as a wedding gift – so I was able to come up with a pretty sizeable batch of dog bone shaped treats.  I purposely under baked them by a few minutes, to keep them soft per my dogs’ preference.  These were a HUGE hit – so much so that I’m considering making them as regularly as I can.

 

Some Bowls.

002Bowls of minestrone- veggie soup for lunch.

024.JPGTrader Joe’s whole milk maple brown sugar greek yogurt mixed with two scoops of Aria vanilla protein powder  = a cake batter consistency that I’m really enjoying.

087.JPGAn incredibly awful looking protein mug cake with peanut butter. (mix chocolate protein powder, baking powder, egg whites, cocoa powder, vanilla etc. in a mug.  microwave until cooked.  top with peanut butter and greedily stare at real cake)

 

Next week I’ll probably prep some burrito bowls to be eaten throughout the week. I still haven’t quite figured out what a smoothie bowl is, but they sounds pretty trendy.  For some reason when it gets colder I just want to dig into a big bowl of hot food; it doesn’t have to be nutritious, or particularly tasty.  Just hot and plentiful.

That’s not a great plan when Mister and I have vacation planned in a few weeks, and this belly needs to be seen on the beach.  Yikes.

What’s in your bowl?

 

A Miss and a Makeup

This past weekend in Albany, Mister and I didn’t have any real plans but we wanted to get out of the apartment.  I think we were both a little restless, and I’m always up to finding something to do.

Unfortunately, the cold weather put a damper on most activities, but on Saturday we were able to start with the Troy farmer’s market.  Sadly, I had made the mistake of bulking up on a huge breakfast at home, so Mister and I were having a hard time getting excited about any of the usual farmer’s market treats.

After walking around a bit, we mustered up enough of an appetite to try out Nibble Inc.  just a few blocks away from the Atrium.

Since we were nowhere near starving, we decided to split a doughnut an an almond milk latte.  (Yay lactose intolerance!)  After one bite each, we were so thankful we only ordered one doughnut.  This was a big ol’ nope for us.

I tried really hard here.  Hey its a cute place, and local, and small business, and quality ingredients.  I just hated what this tasted like.  It solidly reminded me of those first few, horrible attempts at using a bread machine. This mint chocolate doughnut was like when I try to pretend my protein pancakes (protein powder/egg whites/bananas) taste just like pancakes, cause for real they don’t.

The issue here; Nibble Inc uses a potato base for their baked goods.  Which can be great if you’re into that sort of thing.  I might very well be the only Jew from Westchester that hates knishes.  These are the doughnut version of a knish.  Mister gave up, I picked off the toppings.074.JPG

 

We tried to be sneaky about throwing away the rest of the sad snack.

I did not regret, however, following this up with a visit to Cheesecake Machismo for some sweet redemption. This place is always so good.

I didn’t hold back at all; ordered three slices and we split one per night for the three days I was in Albany.  That’s portion control, right?

Chocolate chip fasciana, s’mores, and peanut butter cookie.  We ate them in that order too. I love the thick bottom on the chocolate chip, the chocolate torte topping on the s’mores, and the peanut butter cookie crust on the third.  Those were all the things Mister didn’t like for each slice so we’re super awesome at sharing things.  Win Win Win.

Home

Where is home?
I’ve moved out of my apartment. I’ve started my new job.

Staying with my Dad this past week I’ve lost the essence of the word home. A few nights at his place, a night at my Mom’s house, and a weekend back in Albany with Mister. Home is where my overnight bag and my phone charger are.

We made the most of this weekend visit in the Capital Region.

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Took the dogs to an Albany Devils game.

They were allowed in as part of a Mohawk Hudson Humane Society fundraiser, and it was fun to see a whole upper section of people with their pups. This year was significantly an improvement for my dog, Mona, over last year. She didn’t bark at the mascot, and she didn’t lunge off the stairs every few seconds. My little babe is all grown up.

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Afterwards we dropped the girls off at home and ventured to Troy. Considering some items left on my Albany-area bucket list we went to The Brown Bag.

With all the hype I’ve read about this place, I was a little weary it wouldn’t be that great. Sometimes gimmicks draw people in but aren’t worth it.

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The South Troy burger was worth it. House made burger nestled in a glazed donut with bacon and peanut butter.

Mister and I split one, and the owner went out of his way to split it for us to make sharing easier. We are this gooey, meaty, sweet and salty confection right at the counter.

The glazed donut was from Schuyler Bakery; the owner knew everything about their operation and it was obvious he takes pride in selecting who to work with and the final product.

We shared that burger and an order of fries, the perfect amount of food. Spicy, salty fries with gooey sweetness. We weren’t stuffed, but certainly satisfied.

It Didn’t Work

Sometimes it doesn’t work. There are whole websites dedicated to the failure of Pinterest acclaimed websites. Slow Cooker Nutella French Toast Casserole just sounded so promising.

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It was a waste of challah. And three days later we’re still trying to get the slow cooker clean.

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It was so wet. I know, I know; its a crock pot, that’s how it cooks things. But this was like really wet. Like underdone scrambled eggs. And the flavor was lost in this weirdly wet, concoction.

I actually tossed some in a pan to dry it out, and ate all the edges. But it just wasn’t toast. And it certainly wasn’t french.