Category Archives: Cookies

Back In The Groove… Sort of

Hi! Wow, I’m so glad that Monday is almost over. Mondays are always tough, but it is especially hard to go back to work after a particularly nice weekend. I guess we need the week days in order to really appreciate the weekend. Based on my breakfast, I wasn’t completely ready to get back in the routine groove just yet!

Picnicky BrekkieIf my breakfast is any indication, I was more inclined to pretend I was on a picnic. 🙂 I had the last piece of bran bread from the freezer with some White Chocolate Wonderful PB, a piece of Trader Joe’s Apricot Amaretto English Cheese, and some grapes. I had a skim milk/almond milk tea latte along with it. I wasn’t sure if this would keep me full until lunch, but that bran bread has some sticking power! I was ready for lunch when it came along, but I wasn’t gnawing on my desk with hunger. It’s always best to avoid getting to the point where the office furniture starts to look tasty.

When lunchtime rolled around, I had the makings for the same lunch I made yesterday. I’m really enjoying this combo!

Lunchitty LunchYesterday, I chopped up four chipotle chicken sausages from Trader Joe’s and browned them in a skillet. Then, I fixed three little bowls, each with a sausage and a serving of my succotash (I ate the other sausage…). This morning, I only had to toss some of my beautiful farmer’s market lettuce and a bit of feta into a big container and grab a little bowl of my sausage and succotash combo to reheat and toss on top at lunch time.

There is so much flavor in the topping and the cheese, that I don’t need any dressing at all. Plus, this is nice delicate lettuce that gets a little bit wilted when I put the toppings on. It’s so good! I remember getting the spring lettuce out of the garden and topping it with hot bacon grease as a kid. This reminds me of that, but, um, it’s a little better for you. 🙂 It’ll be in the lunch bag again tomorrow! For dessert, I had a few things:

Lunch DessertI was excited to try the Brown Cow Boysenberry yogurt. It was good, but nothing remarkable– not like the Wallaby Dulce de Leche yogurt I tried on Saturday. I’ve got to get some more of that stuff. Oh my! I had some Zoe’s cinnamon raisin granola with the yogurt, and I also nibbled on part of a Theo’s cherry and almond dark chocolate bar. YUM! I didn’t go looking for a snack until some time later. Then, of course, it was time for some Blue Ridge Dairy Greek yogurt. It seems like I have to have it at least once a day!

Snacky SnackI had some of the pomegranate honey jelly I got at the farmer’s market in my yogurt, and a chocolate vitatop on the side. The vitatop actually ended up in the yogurt, but I was too busy scoffing my snack to snap a photo. It was good, and quite filling! I was at work a bit later than usual, and I needed a little bite of something else to keep me from getting crazy hungry before I got home and made dinner. I had a few little vanilla wafers with some Bee’s Knees PB. I think I probably have about 8 jars of nut butter open right now. That’s normal, right? 🙂  

Little NibblesIsn’t my paper towel china lovely? It’s a pattern I like to call “ridges.” It’s very sophisticated! Ha! These little nibbles hit the spot, and kept me from getting hangry before I could make this:

Din DinIf you are a pierogi purist, my apologies. This was my freezer dish of the day, and I just sort of put some things together that I like. I sauteed a bag of spinach, and tossed it with some Mrs. T’s cheddar potato mini-pierogies that have been in my frozen jungle for awhile now and some Trader Joe’s bruschetta sauce. I topped it with a bit of Greek yogurt and some freshly ground pepper. I usually like these frozen pillows of goodness baked in the oven and nicely crisped up, but I was too hungry for that, so I just gave them a quick boil and treated them like ravioli. This dish was gooood!!

As much as I enjoyed my dinner, I could hardly wait to get to dessert. My shortbread baking friend, BDK, has been in the kitchen again. This time he made some very pretty Easter egg cookies. I love sprinkles so much! He brought a couple by this morning, and I was so excited!!

Shortbread Stylings of BDKThe eggs got a little bit cracked on the trip home, but I still wanted to show them to you. The other day, I asked if you preferred the combo of “milk and cookies” or the combo of  “cake and ice cream.” Someone said that “cookies and ice cream” was their favorite. I certainly can’t scoff at the combo, and that’s what I enjoyed this evening:

YUM!The cookies are so good– no surprise there! I can’t wait to eat the rest. 🙂 Thanks again, BDK! I’m almost done with this ice cream too. I really wish Edy’s slow churned ice creams were available in smaller containers. I like the ice cream, but I hate having to buy it in a huge quantity. It takes me forever to eat it. Edy, if you are reading this, I’d like some smaller options!! 

I had one more little snack before I headed to the gym:

A Ray of Honey SunshineI had a tiny sized bowl of Kashi honey sunshine with a bit of almond milk. I just needed a little crunch. I scorched 800 calories in the gym this evening, and I’m about to celebrate with a bit of popcorn and… sleep. It’s been a long day.

I seem to snack on cereals like the honey sunshine quite a bit, but I never really eat it for breakfast. Do you have a favorite “snacking” cereal? I’m always looking for something new to try, and I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Wish me an unburned bag of microwave popcorn! I’ll wish you a happy Tuesday. Ciao for now!

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Filed under Bread, Cookies, cooking, diet, Farmer's Market, Fitness, Food, Greek Yogurt, Soy, Vegetarian Recipes, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

Chocolate Banana Snack Cake and A Lovely Day of Eats

Hi! Sorry to be posting so late, but I just got home. If you are reading this on Friday morning: TGIF! If you are up late on Thursday, happy almost TGIF! I had a couple of birthday gatherings to attend this evening, so I’m up a little past my bedtime. Even so, I wanted to give you the scoop on my grub for the day as well as a new and tasty recipe that I made. First things first, here’s a re-run for you:

"Tropical Pineapple Right Side Up Breakfast Cookie"I have enough pineapple for one more “Tropical Pineapple Right Side Up Breakfast Cookie.” I’ll be having it a few hours from now, and I’m looking forward to it already. I’m a little bit hungry, but hopefully I will make it until then! I had this morning’s cookie along with a cup of blueberry tea mixed with skim milk and unsweetened vanilla almond breeze. I’m loving this breakfast SO much! 

Today was a work from home day, and I usually go to noontime kickboxing when I’m working at home. Since I’ve been a bit more sore than usual this week, I decided to just do a more laid back cardio workout in the gym this evening. I still scorched about 600 calories, but I think my muscles were probably glad not to be subjected to a kickboxing workout today. I usually have a pre-kickboxing snack, and I decided to uphold the tradition– despite the lack of actual kickboxing. 🙂 I snacked on a Sunshiny Blueberry Muffin from the freezer. Remember those? I did, once I found a couple in the freezer. It was still perfect once I gave it a very quick zap in the micro. I guess I can add “freezes well” to their list of attributes. 

Sunshiny Blueberry MuffinI love these little muffins, and can’t wait until I have some bona fide Virginia berries from the farmer’s market to use in them. YUM! Eventually, lunchtime rolled around. My lunch looks very similar to last night’s dinner with two exceptions: skewer #1 and skewer #2.

I wanted to reheat my fries, and I was hoping to make them crispy. What’s a girl with no toaster oven to do? Well, make French fry kabobs in the pop up toaster! What else?!  Seriously!

Toaster Fries

 

Lunchy LunchI’m glad I thought of this, although I was a bit skeptical of the idea at first. I envisioned having potato bits trapped in my toaster forever or pulling flaming skewers from the toaster with my tongs in a blaze of glory, but it worked just fine. My fries crisped up, and I didn’t set anything on fire. Perfect! Plus, I got to eat my fries on a stick. 🙂 There should be more foods on sticks! The leftover burger from last night was great along with some leftover steamed veggies and Country Bob’s sauce. I do love my leftovers! 

Milk and CookiesFor dessert number one, I had a Brent & Sam’s Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie with some almond breeze on the side. I like to buy these cookies from time to time because they come individually wrapped. That’s perfect for me since it could take me months to eat a package of cookies! After that, I was still craving a little something.

PB WafersI had two vanilla wafers with a smear of Mighty Maple PB. I just had three more, although you won’t see any photos of my late night snack. Sorry. 😦 Dessert number two was followed up sometime later by my afternoon snacks. I had a bowl of Greek yogurt from the Blue Ridge Dairy folks topped with some Bees ‘n Blossoms pomegranate honey jelly and some Zoe’s cinnamon raisin granola. I love how the jelly looks like a jewel sitting on top. This bowl was yummy and satisfying. I should mention that the bowl itself is one of my favorites. It’s jadeite, and it spent years holding bacon grease in my grandmother’s kitchen. It’s contents have changed somewhat, but the beautiful color is just the same. 

Awesome in a bowlI also had a Pink Lady apple with some cashew butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon before I went to the gym. The apple was so crisp, and that’s just the way I like them. I hate mealy apples! Red delicious apples are NOT delicious, in my opinion.

One Nutty LadyBefore I hopped into the shower after my time in the gym, I mixed up a quick snack cake recipe that I found on the Cooking Light website. I was, once again, trying to use up some of the frozen bananas in my freezer jungle, and this cake looked too easy and good to pass up. I’ll give you the link if you want to check it out: LINK. I, of course, tweaked my version based on what I had on hand, and my desire to knock the calories back a tiny bit. Here were my changes to the recipe I linked to above:

Chocolate Banana Snack Cake

  • I used 3/4 cup of sugar instead of 1 cup. I thought it was sweet enough, and the chocolate really rocked!
  • I used 3/4 cup of all purpose flour and 1/4 cup of teff flour.
  • I only had a little cup of Mott’s unsweetened pomegranate plus applesauce, and that worked just fine for the applesauce requirement.
  • I used instant espresso powder since that’s the only “instant coffee” in my cupboard.
  • I did not bake it on parchment paper, but rather in a 9×9 glass baking dish coated in cooking spray.
  • I cut mine into 12 instead of 16 because… I like bigger pieces. 🙂

I’m sure that it would be fabulous if you just followed the recipe, but I thought I’d mention my little changes just in case you were curious. I can also think of about a zillion add ins that would be amazing! Peanut butter chips are at the top of that list! I do love Cooking Light, and I like that they provide the nutritional information for all of their recipes. When you start tweaking, you have to do some recalculating on your own, but it does provide you with a nice general idea, which I find to be very helpful.

Mmm.... Cake...This cake is similar to a cakey brownie. I like that the edges crisped up. I put mine in a bowl so that I could add…

The Perfect Pair… a bit of ice cream on the side, of course! Instead of having my fake cake this evening, I had the real deal. It was goooood! I have to recommend this recipe! I wrapped some pieces up and put them into the freezer. If I made them to clean out the freezer, but then put them back in, is this progress? Methinks the answer is yes. I’d rather find a bag of this chocolate banana cake in the freezer than a bag of gooey bananas any day. 

Oh gosh! I just remembered that I totally forgot to tell you about dinner. I was too excited about dessert! No surprise there, right? My dinner was quick since I had parties to attend. I heated up a container of Boca chili (one more thing out of the freezer), with a corn vita top (another thing out of the frozen jungle) and a piece of light string cheese. Quick and easy– which was perfect since I was in a bit of a hurry. I really did eat this before I had my cake and ice cream. Really. I did. 🙂

Quick Din DinNow, I need to mix up my breakfast cookie, finish putting clean sheets on my bed, and then put myself to bed! Is it just me, or are clean sheets THE BEST?!

If you had to choose between “milk and cookies” or “cake and ice cream,” which would you pick? I’d have a hard time, but I think I’d probably have to go with cake and ice cream. Especially if the cake had frosting on it. Mmm… frosting!

Before I go:

Karen at To Be The Whole Package is hosting an Honest Foods giveaway that I would love to win, but you should enter it too. 🙂

Kelly at Happy Texans is having an awesome bagel giveaway, but you only have until tomorrow to enter so hurry!

There is a Barney Butter giveaway going on at Meloncauliflower’s site. Check out her recent Barney Butter fiasco. This post cracked me up. If you travel and are a foodie, you can likely relate!

Ciao for now, bloggies!

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Filed under Baking, Cake, Chocolate, Cookies, cooking, Cooking Light, diet, Fitness, Food, Pineapple, Recipes, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

Humpday Hamburgers

I’m so happy to be almost over the hump. How about you? My day started off in a fabulous fashion. I had an AMAZING breakfast! What better way to start the day. I made a brekkie cookie with some of the nut butter I made a couple of days ago, oats, vanilla whey Jay Robb, unsweetened vanilla almond breeze, cinnamon and ginger– the usual, but then…

Tropical Pineapple Right Side Up Breakfast Cookie…I topped it with some of the pineapple “pie filling” that I made last night and a little bit of coconut. I also dressed it in a festive lei. 🙂 I had a couple of bites and thought, “hmm… this tastes familiar…” and then I figured it out. What did it taste like: Pineapple upside down cake!! I think I’m in love with this combo, which I call the “Tropical Pineapple Right Side Up Breakfast Cookie.” It deserves a long and illustrious title! It’s on the menu for tomorrow, and probably the day after that! So good!

Around mid-morning, I couldn’t resist the Easter treatster I’d brought for the afternoon:

Easter TreatsterI couldn’t resist having a bit of Easter candy goodness, and Russell Stover hooked me up! Luckily, since a girl can’t live on sugar alone (if I could…), lunch wasn’t far behind.

LunchyI had the last serving of my Spring Cleaning Sausage and Spinach Soup, a little package of pretzel thins that WW sent along with an order of smoothie mix months ago, a little piece of Apricot Raisin Amaretto English cheese from Trader Joe’s and a bowl of Greek yogurt with more of my pineapple topping. Since my office is such a difficult place to take nice photos, and since a pop of color helps a tiny bit, I decided to invite my red Swingline stapler to be in the picture. If you’ve seen the movie, “Office Space,” you know the joke. My brother gave me this stapler as a stocking stuffer a few years back, and it makes me smile when I see it sitting on my desk. 

Pineapple YogurtThe pineapple was great in my yogurt, but it was amazing on the breakfast cookie. I’m going to save the rest for the cookies and find something else to toss in my yogurt. Given my jam collection, it shouldn’t be hard! A few bites in, I realized that I was missing my granola. I forgot to pack it today, but I had a Kellogg’s bar in my desk. These little 90 calorie bars taste great, but they don’t do anything for hunger. I think they are much more useful as a garnish!

Granola GarnishThis was a bigger lunch than I usually have, and I was actually stuffed! I didn’t need a snack until quite sometime later. I played with my food a bit at snacktime. I hope you won’t mind! 🙂

Milk Dudley'sI’m calling these fruit critters “Milk Dudleys.” I decided to have an apple with some PB&Co. Bee’s Knees PB. I also had a tiny box with four Milk Duds that I had stashed away back at Halloween. The desk drawer could use a bit of a clean out too, and I decided that they would be a good addition. I love milk duds. If you try to eat them too quickly, your teeth get totally stuck together. They are made to be savored! My snack hit the spot, and held me until I got home.

That brings me to the Humpday Hamburgers that inspired the name of this post. I’d taken a package of 96/4 ground beef out of the freezer jungle to thaw, and wanted to turn it into burgers. Since the meat is so lean, the burgers have to be handled with care as they don’t have a lot of sticky fat to hold them together. I sauteed some onion, carrot and garlic, which I mixed in to the beef with some of the Country Bob’s sauce that I won from Lucky Taste Buds. The veggies and sauce added a little moisture and a punch of flavor. Then, I heated up my Cuisinart Griddler (love this machine!!!), and sprayed it well with cooking spray. I gently placed my little burgers on the “grill”, and was so happy that they held together well!

Humpday HamburgersOn the side, I had a couple of other things straight from the freezer. I’ve had this enormous Alexia fry bag in the freezer for quite some time with just a few fries floating around inside. You can see my blender in the background, which should give you a little context. The bag itself is enormous! I decided to just cook up everything left in the bag while the oven was hot.

Old BagThese are good, by the way, but I hope to never invest in such a large bag again. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I’ll be having some fries as leftovers over the next few days. I’m sure they won’t be as good when they aren’t fresh from the oven, but I think I will still enjoy them. I also steamed up a bag of Steamfresh brocco/cauli/carrot mix to add a bit of color to my plate (and my diet). I don’t eat red meat that often, and, when I do, it is super satisfying. Although, I will say that my house now smells a bit like a greasy spoon! 

Ice Cream and "Cake"For dessert, I had some ice cream and “cake.” I like the vitatop and Edy’s slow churned cookies and cream combo. My favorite part is when the ice cream sort of melts and gets absorbed by the muffin. Oh my. I was here by myself, and I didn’t feel the tiniest bit bad about licking the bowl clean. 🙂 I also had a little piece of dark chocolate, but he didn’t want his picture taken. I obliged. 

My freezer clean out project has turned into a bit of a freezer/pantry/desk drawer stash clean out. Do you have any spring cleaning projects underway?

I don’t traditionally “spring clean,” but I do think that the change in seasons sort of inspires it naturally. I put away the sweaters and heavy clothes, and dig out the warm weather wear, which often leads to a closet clean out. I clean out the pots on my balcony and ready them for a new warm weather “crop” of flowers and herbs. I kind of think that my kitchen clean out project is a way to get ready for warm weather foods. I don’t do my best when it comes to eating seasonally, but I definitely eat differently in the warm weather months than I do during the months of dark and cold. I crave lighter cooler foods, and different things, like berries, are screaming for attention at the market. I’m more than happy to answer their call, and I’m going to have my kitchen in good shape so that I can do that hospitably.

Now, I need to do a bit of “cleaning,” which is different, in my opinion, than “cleaning out.” Laundry– here I come! I guess I’d better get to it. 

Before I sign off, I want to mention a nutty giveaway:

Sarah is hosting a pistachiolicious giveaway HERE.

Ciao for now!

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Filed under Cookies, cooking, diet, Fitness, Food, Pineapple, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

Cookies and Blooms

Cherry BlossomsIt could not have been a more gorgeous day to see the cherry blossoms. It was sunny, yesterday’s crazy wind had blown out of town, and the temperature was just right! I decided to make the 10+ mile roundtrip jaunt by foot (walking and running) to see the cherry blossoms rather than fighting the crowds on the metro, and I got a good workout during my day of playing tourist in my own back yard. It was quite a day. 

I fueled my excursion with this chocolate breakfast cookie:

Chocolate Breakfast CookieI was hoping it would taste like a “no bake” cookie. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, we used to make cookies with chocolate, peanut butter, oats, tons of butter and tons of sugar that didn’t require baking. Have you had them? Did you call them something else? Anyway, this was good, but not as much like my old “no bake” cookie as I’d hoped. I used some chopped roasted peanuts, reduced fat Jif, Jay Robb’s vanilla whey protein powder, unsweetened vanilla almond breeze, and a spoonful of cocoa powder. I’m having fun experimenting with the b’fast cookies, but I have to say that yesterday’s is my favorite so far. 

For lunch, I had some more of the soup I made yesterday along with one of my favorite little sandwiches:

LunchyI had some Alexia breads in the freezer, and decided it was time to get them out and bake them up. I had one piece of ciabatta left, which is what you see above. I topped it with some Trader Joe’s Bruschetta topping, smoked mozzarella and avocado. I hit upon this combination last summer, and it has become one of my favorites! This little sandwich packs a ton of yum! The soup was even better the second day. I love when that happens!

Before I struck out on my trek, I decided to use some more things from the freezer and make a batch of cookies. I was looking for a recipe involving banana, because goodness knows I have plenty of frozen bananas. I also used some of my coconut stockpile and some of the walnuts I keep in the freezer. I’m making progress! I got invited to a cookout later in the afternoon, and was happy to have a batch of cookies just waiting for an outing. I found a recipe on Cooking Light and changed it just a bit. The recipe made me laugh when I saw it. One of the ingredients is light mayonnaise. I think that any good southern cook who has taken foods to a church potluck probably has a chocolate cake recipe in the arsenal that involves mayo. I’d never seen it in a cookie recipe, and, of course, I had to try it! The original recipe is here. This is my version:

Coconut Banana and Apricot Cookies

Coconut Banana and Apricot Cookies

Ingredients:

2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 medium sized banana, mashed (I used an 80 gram banana from the freezer)

1/2 cup reduced fat mayo (I used Hellman’s light mayo)

1 tsp. rum (I couldn’t tell it was in there so I’d just skip it and use coconut or vanilla extract the next time)

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup old fashioned oats

8 Tbsp. (90 grams) of flaked sweetened coconut

1/2 cup chopped dried apricot

1 ounce of chopped walnuts

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

a dash of ginger

a grate or seven of nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and the remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Stir the flour mixture into the banana mixture. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

This made about two dozen cookies.

I have eaten SEVERAL of these today. I really like them a lot. My friends helped to make a dent in them, but I like them so much that the leftovers are either going to work tomorrow or into the freezer ASAP! In case you are wondering, I did use the sparkpeople recipe calculator to figure out the calories, and I’m counting them. I just figure that woman can’t live on cookies alone, and I’d be tempted to try it with these! 🙂 

Ok, so back to the cherry blossoms. Here are a few more photos from my afternoon:

The JeffersonSee all the people on the steps of the Jefferson? It was really crowded, but I’m happy that so many people got to enjoy the day.

Close upThese were ready for their close-up! Here’s one more of the Washington Monument:

The Washington MonumentI was in the shade for the photos of the Jefferson and the Washington, and you can definitely tell a difference in the colors. It was a beautiful and busy day, and it ended nicely with dinner at my friends’ house. I had grilled chicken breast with Stubb’s BBQ sauce, corn on the cob (also grilled), potatoes and salad. Yum and yum. It was so good! My friends are always great at hosting, and I always love seeing them and their awesome dog. 

After all of my walking and running, it is definitely time for me to hit the hay. I do long jaunts like that when the weather is nice, but I can tell that I haven’t done it in awhile. I was tired by the time I got home. I’m going to go and mix up a breakfast cookie, and then I’m calling it a night. 

Here’s wishing you all an excellent week!! Ciao for now!

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Filed under Baking, Cookies, cooking, Cooking Light, D.C., diet, Fitness, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized, Washington, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

It Was About Time…

TGIF!!! I hope this finds everyone doing well and getting a good start to the weekend! Quitting time could not come soon enough today, especially after I saw a spot of sunshine at lunch. 🙂 I was in the middle of a serious downpour on my way into the office this morning, so I was so surprised that it was gorgeous at lunchtime. When you have a windowless office, the weather is often a surprise.

Aside from the rain, my day started off pretty well. Now that Jay Robb and I have become friends, I decided that it was time for me to give Fitnessista’s breakfast cookie a try. Last night, before heading off to bed, I mixed up this baby:

Breakfast Cookie

My breakfast cookie is made of 1/3 cup of oats, 1 ounce of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 15 grams of Jay Robb’s vanilla whey protein powder, 7 grams of chopped vanilla almonds, 1 Tbsp. of The Bee’s Knees peanut butter from PB&Co, and some leftover dried strawberries from my berry bar making adventure. I put it in the fridge to set up over night, and it was waiting for me when I got up this morning. 

I loved the chewiness. It really felt like a substantial breakfast, and yet tasted like a dessert. That’s just about perfect in my book! I topped it with a fresh berry that I sliced all fancy in honor of Friday with a little bit of dark chocolate dreams PB. I need my chocolate and strawberry fix in the morning! I will be having this again, and the breakfast cookie seems like a perfect hot weather breakfast option. Thanks, Fitnessista!!

Cookie Monster!

I decided to toss the lunch I’d packed in the freezer at work and enjoy lunch with a friend from work instead. That sort of spontaneous eating would not likely have happened a few weeks ago, but the change in my eating approach has given me such a new outlook and so much more freedom! By the way, I’m not going to report on my weight today, but I will say that things are still going well. I’m so much happier too!! 🙂

My friend suggested that we get lunch at Busboys and Poets, and I wasn’t hard to convince. I’ve looked through their window a number of times, but I’ve never gone inside. Have I been missing out! They have so many amazing options on the menu, including a number of great things for vegetarians and vegans. My lunch really hit the spot, and the company did too!

Lovely Little LunchI got the falafel wrap with a side of fruit. It was SO good! There was a delightfully nutty hummus in the wrap with the falafel and veggies, and I’m always happy with berries and fresh pineapple. There was also a fresh tasting drizzle in the little teacup that added a nice extra layer of flavor to the wrap. Lunch was really good, not heavy at all, and my plate had just the right amount of food. Perfect!

Busboys and Poets Vegan CheesecakeAs usual, I couldn’t resist checking out the desserts. My friend and I split a slice of vegan cheesecake at the end of the meal, and– oh my! It was so good. It kind of reminded me of frozen cake frosting (love it!!), and the raspberries were an awesome complement. It was really good, and I always love the opportunity to share a dessert! I have to highly recommend Busboys and Poets. I will definitely be going back again soon.

When I got hungry later in the day, I had the snack I’d packed this morning. I scraped the last of my dalmatian orange and fig spread from the jar this morning. 😦 It is on the shopping list. I really love it with my Greek yogurt and vanilla almonds. Have I mentioned that I love it?? It really is so good. I’m going to recycle yesterday’s photo so get ready:

Happy in a BowlWhen I got home, I decided to eat a couple of things from the freezer in honor of “Project Clean Out the Freezer.” I had frozen a tiny bit of 96/4 ground beef awhile ago, and I decided to finish off a bag of TJ’s frozen naan by using the beef on one of my little pizzas.

BeefySee, I do label things sometimes! Here’s my empty naan bag. I’d be worried that the bag is empty except… there’s more in the scary freezer!

Bag of EmptyI tried out some of the Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce that I won from the giveaway hosted by Lucky Tastebuds, and, mixed with the beef, it provided a barbecue pizza type experience. It was yummy! That sauce is great! There is also some roasted vegetable tapenade and smoked mozzarella on the top. As usual, I enjoyed the crunchy naan with my favorite TJ’s soup: Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato. 

Din DinIn continuing with the freezer theme, I had some more of my Edy’s slow churned light cookies and cream on top of a Triple Chocolate Chunk Vitatop. Essentially, I had cake and ice cream. Woo hoo! I don’t think you can go wrong with that combination.

Party in a BowlI really enjoyed reading the comments y’all left about the state of your freezers. I am glad to know that I have some kindred freezer spirits, and I’m also glad to know that it is possible to have a more organized freezer space. I think I’m shooting for something in the middle, but we will see. I’ve taken a few things out to thaw and I’m planning to turn them into something tomorrow. Stay tuned for that one! I did have a freezer avalanche event this morning, but things are already looking better. 

I hope your weekend is the best! The weather is supposed to be nice here, so I’m hoping to walk?/run?/bike? down to the tidal basin to see this year’s cherry blossom crop. If I do, you can be sure that there will be some new photos!

What are you up to this weekend?

I wanted to mention this giveaway before I go:

The Girl in the Little Black Dress is hosting a Quaker giveaway!! That robe looks too cozy!

Ciao, y’all!

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Filed under Cookies, D.C., diet, Food, Uncategorized, Washington, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

Out of the Frozen Jungle…

We’ve nearly made it to Friday, and, as always, I’m so glad! The weather is supposed to be warm this weekend, and I can’t wait to get out in it!! Today was gloomy and rainy, and I was happy to be working from home. I started off in the exact same way I have every day this week– with this bowl:

Oat BranI had oat bran with banana, Jay Robb’s vanilla whey protein powder, maple syrup, berries and Dark Chocolate Dreams PB. I’m loving this bowl! I also had the last of my cherry tea with some milk and Torani. I’ve now finished one big canister of tea. I only have five to go…

I went to kickboxing today, and I had my usual pre-workout bowl of Greek yogurt. I’m so enamored with this combination!

Bliss in a Bowl!I love the mix of Fage with dalmatian fig and orange spread topped with chopped up vanilla roasted almonds. Oh my goodness. This is really one of my favorite things. I’ve also decided that it smells vaguely of cake. Weird? I’m down to the last of my fig and orange spread and I’m going to have to pick up some more ASAP!

The usual kickboxing instructor was out today, and the workout we got with her husband, the owner of the gym, was one of the toughest ever. To make matters even more challenging, there were only two of us in the class. I usually do my best to keep up, but I tried extra hard today. There was no place to hide! Needless to say, I was starving when I got home. I decided to have one of my favorite lunches. This could also be called “an ode to Trader Joe.”

Lunch!

I always keep some of Trader Joe’s frozen naan in the freezer in case I need an emergency pizza. I usually heat the naan in the oven for a couple of minutes, take it out, and then turn on the broiler. While the broiler is heating up, I top the naan with whatever sounds good. Today, I added some roasted vegetable tapenade, turkey pepperoni, and more of my awesome smoked mozzarella. I pop it under the broiler to melt the cheese, the edges of the naan crisp up and it’s just so good! I had it alongside a bowl of Trader Joe’s Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup. That is, hands down, my favorite non-homemade soup. The crispy edges of the naan are so perfect for dipping in the soup, and I always save a piece to wipe the bowl clean. I was a happy girl! I nibbled on a bit of chocolate after lunch and followed it up with a fudgy peanut butter vitatop:

Vita loveI never used to be a big chocolate fan, but here lately, I can’t get enough of the stuff! I started getting hungry about an hour before dinner time, and decided to dig into the depths of the freezer for one of my Very Strawberry Almond Butter Bars.

Very Strawberry Almond Butter BarI individually wrapped and froze about half the batch back when I made them for the BSI contest, and I’ve been neglecting them. In a semi-frozen state, they kind of remind me of refrigerator cookie dough that comes in a tube. Yum!! That brings me to this:

AAARGH!!A glimpse into my freezer reveals a place that is low on space, lacking in organization and full of all sorts of things. I’ve decided that one of my goals for April is to do something about this mess! Why should I keep buying new food, when there are so many things in here just waiting to be put to use? I may not be making as many new recipes, but I know I will still be eating well. Project “Clean Out the Freezer” got off to a pretty good start today. In addition to the berry bar, the naan and some frozen banana that went into my oat bran, I ate the last two of my Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs.

Din DinI also had some leftover Spiced Zucchini with Bulgur and a few leftover roasted green beans from the dinner I made last night. After that, I decided to really endure some suffering by cleaning a couple of other items out of the freezer. Wow. It was soooo hard!

Cookie LoveA good friend at work gave me a couple of these very cute shortbread cookies back around Valentine’s Day. I ate one then, and saved the other for later. I was so happy to have it this evening. It was so buttery and good and you can never go wrong with sprinkles!! Thanks, BDK!! I had some Edy’s Slow Churned Cookies and Creme ice cream along with it. Man, this freezer clean-out is tough. 🙂 After that, I finished off the evening with a little chocolate sampler:

Chocolate SamplerI got a little carried away in the chocolate section at Whole Foods the other day. That seems to happen now that I’ve changed my approach to eating. I parcel out my treats in a reasonable manner, but I certainly don’t skimp on variety. I was so amused by Berkshire Bark’s Pretzelogical bar, that I decided to try Midnight Harvest. It has some nuts and dried fruit in it, and it is quite good. I have to say, however, that the pretzelogical is still my absolute fave! I also wanted to try the dark chocolate Theo bar, and the Green & Black’s milk chocolate toffee bar. I realized that I don’t eat milk chocolate very often. It tasted so sweet to me! I think that having a little plate of chocolate like this one is a great way to satisfy my sweet tooth in the evening. Once I’ve fed the beast, I’ve noticed that I don’t snack nearly as much. There is much to be said for eating what you are really craving. It seems to be a better tactic in the long run. 

Sorry I’ve been a but lax about posting this week. Things have been busy, but good! I’ll try to do better. I promise! I also promise to keep you updated on the freezer progress. I’m a little bit scared about what might be hiding in there, but I guess there’s only one way to find out! 

Do you have an organized freezer with nice labels and orderly stacking… or does your freezer more closely resemble my frozen jungle? Sweetie Pie wants to know!

Speaking of busy, I need to take care of a few things so that I’ll be ready to hit the ground running in the morning. Before I go:

Check out this Zoe’s granola giveaway hosted by Lucky Tastebuds!

Congrats to Becca on making it through her first week at the CIA. She’s having a cool giveaway to celebrate. Check it out!

Have a great Friday!!! Ciao!

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Filed under BSI, Cookies, cooking, diet, Fitness, Food, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

Zucchini and Cookies

Zucchini

Happy Thursday! The weekend’s almost here. I just hope the weather improves. It’s been gloomy and cloudy with drizzle all day today. It’s not warm either. The cherry blossom festival is about to get under way, and I just hope the little blossoms manage to stay warm.

Oat Bran!I had another day of tasty “pointless” eats, and I made a zucchini dish for dinner tonight that I’m going to tell you about. It was good, and a great way to use up the zucchini that came in my last Merry Produce Wednesday box. This morning, I started off with a bowl of oat bran. I’d just been missing it too much to have regular oats for another day! I added 1/3 a pack of Jay Robb’s strawberry whey protein powder, 1/2 Tbsp. of maple syrup, half of a banana that I smushed up, and some cinnamon and nutmeg. I tossed some strawberries on top with 1/2 Tbsp. of Dark Chocolate Dreams. It was gooood! 

Blue Ridge Dairy GoodnessBefore kickboxing, I had a bowl of Greek yogurt. I’ve been waiting to finish up some Fage before trying out the nonfat Greek yogurt I bought on Saturday at the farmer’s market. The Blue Ridge Dairy folks have kept me well fed this week with the smoked mozzarella. This yogurt? Oh my gosh. It was so good. In fact, I think it was the best Greek yogurt I’ve had! The add-ins were pretty awesome too. I added 1/2 Tbsp. of orange and fig spread along with some chopped vanilla almonds. It was the best thing I ate all day!

Cabbage Nest Primavera... againAfter kickboxing, I was starving! I woke up hungry this morning and that continued into the afternoon. I had my last Cabbage “Nest” Primavera along with a few Brussels sprouts. I’m made sure to get a good singe on my cabbage since the burnt bits were so tasty when it happened accidentally yesterday.

Lunch DessertAfter that, I enjoyed a slice of my cottage cheese bread with some Mighty Maple PB and half of a Cookiehead Belgian Chocolate Chunk cookie. Yes, this is another thing I hadn’t tried because it wasn’t very points friendly. You can tell that it is made with whole wheat because it has a nice soft texture and a nutty flavor. I really liked it, and I will definitely be trying the other flavors available at my store!

dscn2257Eventually, I decided it was time for a snack so I had a little strawberry Yokids with some Zoe’s granola mixed in. YUM!

Cashew and Pear CrazinessWhen snack time rolled around again, I decided to have a variation on the apple and PB theme. I had a pear and some cashew butter sprinkled with a ton of cinnamon. WOW! I’m living on the edge. 🙂 It was a really nice combo. Red pears are so pretty!

Din Din

By dinnertime, I was seriously hungry again! My body has adjusted to the new eating framework, and there are some noticeable changes. I seem to be hungrier, but yet more satisfied. I will talk more about that in tomorrow’s post. Just know that when dinner time rolled around, I was ready! I had a Gardenburger Chik’n Grill patty on some Nature’s Own Double Fiber bread with a little light mayo and some pickles. On the side, I had some grape tomatoes and some Spiced Zucchini with Bulgur. 

Spiced Zucchini with BulgurMy recipe for the zucchini dish was loosely based on this one from an old Gourmet magazine. I ran across the page I had torn out the other day while I was cleaning out a folder of random magazine pages. I have a habit of tearing out pages that interest me and then losing them due to the lack of any sort of organizational system whatsoever. I was glad to find this one. My version is actually quite a bit different, but I wanted to mention the original because it would be good too. Here’s mine:

Spiced Zucchini with Bulgur

Ingredients:

3 cups of boiling water

3/4 cup of bulgur

1 tsp. salt, divided

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 cup onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed or sliced

1 1/2 pounds of zucchini, cubed

3/4 tsp. ground coriander

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. chili powder

 1/4 tsp. black pepper

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

Juice of half of a lemon

Directions:
Place bulgur and 1/2 tsp. salt in a medium sized microwave safe bowl. Pour the boiling water over the bulgur, cover and let it sit for three minutes. Then, place in the microwave, uncovered, for 6 minutes. Remove from the microwave and give it a stir. Return to the microwave for two minutes at a time, stirring it at each two minute interval. It took about ten minutes for mine to absorb most of the water, but the time could vary. Just continue microwaving until the water is absorbed and the bulgur is tender.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion and 1/4 tsp. of salt, sauteeing for one minute. Add the garlic and saute for one minute. Add the zucchini and the remaining 1/4 tsp. of salt. Saute the zucchini, stirring gently, for about 6 minutes or until the zucchini is tender.

Add the remaining ingredients except for the lemon juice. Continue to cook the mixture for two more minutes. Remove from heat. Stir the zucchini mixture into the bulgur, being gentle so as to avoid mashing the zucchini. Add the lemon juice and give it another gentle stir. 

This makes 8 side servings, but two servings could make a nice lunch.

It was creamy and kind of reminded me of risotto! I used rosemary because I have some growing in a pot, and it is need of some serious trimming. You’ll be seeing a lot of rosemary until I get my plant under control. I used a whole tablespoon of olive oil because I’m trying to make sure and get enough healthy fat into my diet each day. You could certainly use less or just use cooking spray. I will say that this dish had a much richer texture than I expected, and I have to attribute it to the olive oil. It felt decadent! Yum! Fat!!

DessertAfter dinner, I had the other half of my cookie and a cup of fat free Nestle’s cocoa. After that, I decided to try the chocolate orange Jocalat Bar from Larabar. I didn’t take a picture. I also didn’t eat much of the bar. I’m now faced with a dilemma. I did not like the way this bar tasted AT ALL! I love chocolate and orange together, and I expected to love this. Instead, I thought it had a weird and unpleasant taste. I’m not sure what the deal is, but, as I try not to waste calories on things I don’t like, I now have most of a bar to dispose of. I don’t think that giving a half eaten ancient larabar to trick or treaters in October is appropriate, but that’s the only idea I’ve come up with so far. What do you think I should do with it? I’m also curious if anyone else has tried this bar. Maybe mine is defective? Well, at any rate, I’m going to be looking for another little treat this evening, and I’ll be putting this little number in a ziploc baggie where it will await its fate.

Today was day seven of my “pointless” eating week. Tomorrow I’ll let you know how it went and what I’m planning as I move forward. It has been a good week, and I’ve done more food journal posts than usual to sort of let you see what was on the menu. It’s a lot of work! I don’t think I’d like doing it everyday, but it is fun to look back and see what I’ve eaten.

I have some major cleaning to do this evening, and I need to get to it. If you are reading this, please leave a comment and let me know what on earth I should do with this bar?!? I’m hoping you have an idea that is better than mine!

Have a great Friday and an amazing weekend!

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Filed under Cookies, diet, Farmer's Market, Fitness, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetarian Recipes, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers